Biology and chemistry researchers from Virginia Tech are creating molecular complexes to bind to and disrupt the DNA of diseased tissues, such as tumors or viruses. Testing the activity of each of the therapeutic molecule designs has been a time-consuming process. But a student's invention now provides rapid screening to accelerate discovery of promising new drugs.
Aaron J. (A.J.) Prussin II of Blacksburg, Va., a second year student at Virginia Tech who is majoring in biochemistry and biology, with a minor in chemistry, has created an LED system that glows a beautiful shade of blue when the special molecules successfully bind to DNA. "It allows us to do 100 tests per day, instead of one or two," said Karen Brewer, professor of chemistry at Virginia Tech.
The research will be presented at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago March 25-29.
Pussin and chemistry graduate student David Zigler of Sterling, Illinois, plan next to build an array that will use different colors to signal different DNA interactions. "That capability is important in terms of what color of light you want to use to activate the molecules to bind to or cleave the DNA," Brewer said.
The research poster, "Validation of an LED array for use in DNA photocleavage assays" (INOR 726), was selected for both the Bioinorganic: DNA and RNA poster session and for the special Sci-Mix session at the national meeting.
Authors are Prussin, Zigler, chemistry graduate students Jared Brown and Avijita Jain, Biology Professor Brenda S. J. Winkel, and Brewer.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.
Materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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