• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    And that'll do it. They battled valiantly, but @UCSBMensSoccer's season comes to and w/ a 3-2 Sweet 16 loss at Clemson. Great season guys!
    1 hour 31 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    2 mins left here, rain is really pouring now. C'mon Gauchos!
    1 hour 33 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Goal for Clemson. Tic-tac-toe passing leads to a tap-in goal for Kyle Murphy. 3-2 now w/ 11 mins to go #LetsGoGauchos
    1 hour 44 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    GOALLLLLLLL! Sloppy back pass from Clemson to the keeper, Kevin Feucht pounces on it and taps into an empty net. 2-2 w/ 20 mins left to go.
    1 hour 54 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Clemson goes up 2-1 on a goal by Diego Campos. 22 mins left for UCSB to equalize.
    1 hour 58 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    63' - Yellow card for Clemson, #6 Paul Clowes
    2 hours 4 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    62' - Nice build up for UCSB leads to a shot from the right side from Ismail Jome, but he hits the sidenetting.
    2 hours 5 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Tactical foul leading to the YC for Clemson leads to a short-side opportunity for Randy Mendoza, but his shot stays wide left.
    2 hours 12 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    58' - Yellow card for Clemson, #11 Aaron Jones
    2 hours 12 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    51' - Jome sends one to the far post from inside the 18, but his curler goes just wide.
    2 hours 19 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Second half for @UCSBMensSoccer starting now, tied w/ No. 2 Clemson 1-1! Catch the end of the game here: https://t.co/R9FRG70Get
    2 hours 26 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Halftime stats for UCSB/Clemson (tied 1-1) Shots: 8/5 Shots on Goal: 3/4 Corners: 3/2 Fouls: 13/8 Yellow cards: 1/0
    2 hours 34 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Clemson equalizes late in the first half through an Aaron Jones strike. It's 1-1 heading into halftime.
    2 hours 41 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Gooooaaaaaal!!!! Seo-In Kim with the goal to put @UCSBMensSoccer up 1-0 with 6 left in opening half.
    2 hours 48 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    @UCSBMensSoccer Sam Strong in for Nick DePuy with 12 left in 1st half
    2 hours 53 min ago

Developments in Nanobiotechnology at UCSB Point to Medical Applications

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA


From left, Kirill A. Afonin, Cody Geary, Luc Jaeger

Photo Credit: 

George Foulsham, UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications

Two new groundbreaking scientific papers by researchers at UC Santa Barbara demonstrate the synthesis of nanosize biological particles with the potential to fight cancer and other illnesses. The studies introduce new approaches that are considered "green" nanobiotechnology because they use no artificial compounds.

Luc Jaeger, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSB, explained that there is nothing short of a revolution going on in his field –– one that permeates all areas of biochemistry, especially his area of nanobiotechnology. The revolution involves understanding the role of RNA in cells.

"Considering the fact that up to 90 percent of the human genome is transcribed into RNA, it becomes clear that RNA is one of the most important biopolymers on which life is based," said Jaeger. "We are still far from understanding all the tremendous implications of RNA in living cells."

Jaeger's team is putting together complex three-dimensional RNA molecules –– nanosize polyhedrons that could be used to fight disease. The molecules self assemble into the new shapes. The work is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and there is a patent pending jointly between NIH and UCSB on the new designs.

"We are interested in using RNA assemblies to deliver silencing RNAs and therapeutic RNA aptamers to target cancer and other diseases," said Jaeger. "It is clear that RNA is involved in a huge number of key processes that are related to health issues."

Jaeger believes the RNA-based approaches to delivering new therapies in the body will be safer than those using artificial compounds that might have undesirable side effects down the line.

"By using RNA molecules as our primary medium, we are practicing ‘green' nanobiotechnology," explained Jaeger. "The research program developed in my lab at UCSB aims at contributing in a positive way to medicine and synthetic biology. We try to avoid any approaches that raise controversial bioethical issues in the public square. It's not an easy task, but I am convinced that it will pay off in the long run."

The more recent of the two scientific papers describing the new work –– "In vitro assembly of cubic RNA-based scaffolds designed in silicon" –– published online Monday, August 30, by Nature Nanotechnology. The earlier paper –– "A polyhedron made of tRNAs" by Severcan and colleagues –– was published online on July 18 by Nature Chemistry. The print edition of this article will be published in Nature Chemistry's September issue.

The second author on the Nature Chemistry paper is Cody Geary, a postdoctoral fellow in Jaeger's lab. Kirill A. Afonin, also a postdoctoral fellow in Jaeger's lab, is the first author on the Nature Nanotechnnology article.

Bruce Shapiro, a senior author on the Nature Nanotechnology article, is based at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md. and is also funded by NIH. Jaeger and his team worked with Shapiro to develop a computerized approach for facilitating the design of self-assembling RNA strands. Further assistance came from the National Resource for Automated Molecular Microscopy located at Scripps Institute in La Jolla, Calif.







Top row, three different RNA objects rendered from molecular computer models: from left, RNA antiprism composed of eight RNAs, a six-stranded RNA cube, and a 10-stranded RNA cube. Bottom row, the corresponding three-dimensional reconstructions of the objects obtained from cryo-electron microscopy.

Credit: Cody Geary and Kirill A. Afonin

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