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[Lecture] Sonopharmacology and Sonogenetics: Activating drugs, proteins and genes by ultrasound
Aug. 28, 2023
Speaker: Prof. Andreas Herrmann, DWI - Leibniz-Institute for Interactive Materials, RWTH Aachen University

Time: 16:00 p.m., August 28, 2023, GMT+8

Venue: College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering A717


Remote controlling biological systems is an exciting endeavour because it is the offspring for new therapies and allows answering fundamental biological questions. In this context, the field of optogenetics has enabled the understanding of neural circuits and disorders. However, current optogenetic techniques are hampered by the low penetration of light into tissue and hence often require invasive surgical procedures to deliver photons to target cells. Therefore, ultrasound (US) was used as alternative trigger since US can deeplu penetrate tissue with high spatiotemporal control and has been safely applied in the clinic for many decades. Our group has developed general molecular technologies to activate drugs, proteins and nucleic acids by US employing principles from polymer mechanochemistry. Two types of mechano-sensitive carriers have been discovered, ie. high molar mass polnucleic acid aptamers and colloidal hydrogel microbubbles. Polnucleic acids fabricated by enzymatic reactions undergo covalent and non-covalent bond cleavage induced by shear forces originating from US-induced cavitation bubbles. These nucleic acid carriers harbouring different bioactive payloads allow the activation of small bioactive molecules and drugs that can initiate gene expression, kill pathogensor cure diseases. Moreover, the activation of thrombin by US allows the general control over protein activity in combination with split inteins.


Since June 2017,Andreas Herrmannis scientific board member of the DWI - Leibniz Institute for interactive Materials in Aachen Germanyand fills a position as full professor at RWTH Aachen University for Macromolecular Materials and SvstemsIn 2018. he became vice-director of theDwl-LeibnizInstitute and director in 2023.

Source: College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering