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Packaging and Release of mRNA and of other Macromolecules from Supramolecular Virus-Like Assemblies

We developed one-component, sequence-defined Ionizable Amphiphilic Janus Dendrimers (IAJDs) and their assemblies with mRNA. These Dendrimersome Nanoparticles (DNPs) were investigated for the delivery of mRNA for vaccines and nanotherapeutics. The DNPs have the potential to make less expensive, more stable, and easily stored vaccines against viruses compared to the current 4-component Lipid Nanoparticles, LNPs. We have shown that the structural design of the IAJD molecules allows the formation of DNPs that selectively deliver Luc-mRNA to the lung, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. Simplifying the IAJD structure allows us to change the delivery from lung to liver and spleen. The DNPs elaborated in this work are excellent candidates for more efficient and less expensive vaccines than the current ones.


Broader Impact

High School Teacher Daaiyah White from Mastery Charter Schools was supported by this grant to participate in this research. We also welcomed Hayley Neubauer, a chemistry undergraduate student at Gettysburg College and Isis P. Carmona-Sepúlveda, an undergraduate student from Puerto Rico, as REU summer interns in summer 2021. The last two undergraduate students subsequently became graduate students in chemistry.

Three JACS papers resulted from this work. Patents resulted from this work are being licensed by Penn to BioNTech, Flagship-85 and Capstan Companies.

NSF-REU Employees and Undergraduates

Daaiyah White, Hayley Neubauer,and Isis P. Carmona-Sepulveda