Notice and Invitation
Oral Defense of Master’s Thesis

Bioengineering Department
The Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University


Luz Merlyn Vargas Restrepo
Bachelor of Science, Universidad de Antioquia, 2016


DNA Nanotechnology as a Tool to Study Membrane-binding Events:

The Role of RGD Peptide Spatial Organization on AVB3 Integrin binding



Monday, November 16, 2020, 2pm-4pm

via Zoom (link below)

All are invited to attend.

Dr. Parag Chitnis, Chair

Dr. Remi Veneziano, Thesis Director
Dr. Barney Bishop




Receptor-mediated recognition, interaction and entry into cells are fundamental mechanisms in cell biology notably for the control of cell fate and behavior. However, the role of specific spatial arrangements of biomolecules in the recognition and binding by receptors, as well as the kinetic parameters of these interactions for many biological mechanisms are not yet fully understood. For instance, mechanisms such as cell adhesion and migration are fundamental biological mechanisms for which the role of nanoscale organization of specific ligands responsible of the interactions with the extracellular matrix is still not clear. To date, extensive efforts have been made in using RGD peptide nanopatterns on surface to investigate specific adhesion of various cells and the subsequent proliferation, migration, and differentiation behaviors. However, despite years of research, the effect of the nanoscale organization of RGD peptide on the interaction with cell membrane receptors remains limited, mainly because of the lack of techniques that allow for nanoscale control of biomolecules organization and precise stoichiometry control.

In this work, we address this problem by developing DNA origami presenting RGD peptide systems. These multifunctional DNA origami nanoparticles were designed, folded and functionalized to explore the impact of spacing, and 1D vs 2D organization of RGD peptide on binding to Šv‚3 integrin at the single-protein level.

We show that binding affinity to Šv‚3 membrane receptor can be modulated by controlling RGD inter-peptide distance on DNA origami nanoparticles, using surface plasmon resonance (SPR). In conclusion, DNA origami-RGD peptide systems not only represent potential for helping elucidate the role of RGD and its organization in membrane binding interactions, but also to assemble the new generation of nanocarriers for drug delivery and effective scaffold for cell-tissue engineering.




Parag Chitnis is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: MS Thesis Defense of Merlyn Vargas

Time: Nov 16, 2020 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


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Carol McHugh

Academic Program Assistant

Department of Bioengineering

3100 Peterson Family Health Services Hall