Thesis Defense Announcement
To: the George Mason Community
Amanda C. Zirzow
Master of Science in Biology
Molecular Biology concentration
Date: Thursday December 2, 2010
Time: 1:00 - 2:30 P.M.
Place: Research I Bldg., Room 162
Thesis Chair: Dr. Ancha Baranova, MMB Dept.
Title : "Post-transcriptional Gene Silencing and the
Bioengineering of a Novel Non-Viral Nanoscale Vector for the Delivery
of Small Interfering RNA Molecules"
Silencing of gene expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) is
promising for drug target discovery and as a therapy. However, a major
impediment to the use and development of this technology is the
inherent instability of siRNA in the bloodstream. To address this
restriction, this research evaluates a novel, DNA and albumin based
delivery vehicle for siRNA. To study the kinetics of siRNA
degradation, a custom 21nt double stranded RNA includes a fluorophore
on one strand and a quencher on the other strand. Degradation dependent
separation of quencher and fluorophore results in increased
fluorescence intensity allowing siRNA degradation to be measured via
fluorescence spectroscopy. The mean size distribution of DNA baskets
was measured by dynamic light scattering. This investigation finds that
the degradation of siRNA is delayed when siRNA is prepared
with DNA/albumin and the size of the delivery particles optimal for
cellular uptake, implying that DNA baskets are a promising technology
for further development as the delivery vehicle for therapeutic siRNAs.