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Research: Research

Polypeptide Synthesis

Polypeptide synthesis and application has been one of the major focuses in our group.  In the past, we successfully developed organosilicon reagent mediated controlled ring-opening polymerization of amino acid N-carboxyanhydride. We also developed the first design of charged helical polypeptides, and this class of special polypeptides have been used in gene and siRNA delivery and cell membrane penetration.  We will continue developing polypeptide biomaterials, aiming to design smart polypeptide materials, develop polypeptides that have therapeutic activity or efficient delivery functions, and improve the chemistry for the synthesis of polypeptides.

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In Vivo/Click chemistry

Bioorthogonal chemistry is a strategy for performing chemical reactions within living systems. It involves reactions that are unrelated to other natural progresses in the organism, allowing for selective labeling, detection, and manipulation of specific molecules or processes. We are committed to the development of novel bioorthogonal chemistry and performing different reactions in this lab ranging from azide-alkyne cycloaddition, hydroxylamine-mediated reactions, affinity labeling, and photoconversion chemistry. These methods are powerful tools for studying chemical processes and molecular functions in biology, especially in the area of large molecules engineering on cell surface via natural metabolic pathway.

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Gene Delivery

Polypeptides were the first set of materials considered for use as nonviral gene delivery vectors. we reported our efforts to develop a library of cationic α-helical polypeptides with CPP-like properties for gene delivery through the well-known ROP of NCAs. Our results suggest that the incorporation of α-helical cationic polypeptides into our gene delivery vector library possess the ability to disrupt endosomes and the successful application both in vitro and in vivo.

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