Specializing in DNA repair processes, nucleic acid structures and oligonucleotide-based therapeutics.
Our laboratory at Concordia specializes in the synthesis of chemically-modified nucleic acids for numerous applications including the study of DNA repair processes, nucleic acid structures and oligonucleotide-based therapeutics. In our research program, graduate and undergraduate students adopt an interdisciplinary approach to research acquiring skills and knowledge in both the fields of chemistry and biochemistry.
Our students gain expertise in organic synthesis, biochemistry and biophysics. Equipped with these tools, our trainees go on to careers in industry and academia.
DNA Damage and Repair
DNA is susceptible to modification by agents and processes that are endogenous and exogenous to the cell. If lesions introduced to the scaffold of DNA are not removed this may have significant consequences to an organism. Our group uses both solution and solid-phase synthesis approaches to prepare modified oligonucleotides containing various nucleobase adducts, intra- and inter-strand cross-links and evaluate their processing and repair by various proteins.
Modified nucleic acids
Using a combination of solution and solid-phase synthesis, our group has introduced various modifications to the scaffold of DNA and RNA for numerous applications. These include the introduction of selenium at the nucleobase for aiding with structure elucidation by X-ray crystallography and sugar modifications to explore their influence on the biophysical properties of various nucleic acid structures to gain insights for applications of these materials as nanodevices.
Over 40 years ago, it was demonstrated that a synthetic DNA molecule targeted to a RNA sequence could inhibit virus replication. Since then, various approaches employing chemically modified oligonucleotides as therapeutic agents to target RNA such as antisense and RNA interference have been explored. Our lab has interests in the synthesis and introduction of various modifications to the scaffold of oligonucleotides to improve their properties for these promising therapeutic approaches