Wen Zhang, Ph.D.
635 Barnhill Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: (317) 274-9602
Research Program Membership
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
IU School of Medicine
Dr. Zhang's research interests include:
Our lab is focused on the synthesis and application of novel artificial nucleic acid molecules as the effective therapeutic agent and drug delivery tool. The current research interests include 1) synthesis of novel mirror-image nucleic acids for in vitro selection of functional RNA aptamer targeting cancer-related motifs; 2) construction of mirror-image RNA nanostructure as the efficient and stable gene therapy delivery device for cancer treatment. One specific proposal is to synthesize an innovative mirror-image RNA 3-way-junction nanostructure, and conjugate it with multiple functionalities, including siRNA therapy, aptamer to specify delivery and signaling molecule to track mobility, and use it to target the POLR2A gene in Triple Negative Breast Cancer and suppress cancer cell growth. It's expected that our proposed RNA nanoparticle, compared to other drug delivery tools, will have an extended retention time in vivo and in vitro, lower toxicity and higher specificity. The future research interests will include the more experimental assays in more cell and animal models to test the safety and effectiveness of our mirror-image RNA nanoparticle as the drug delivery tool. Another research direction is the basic science of development of mirror-image RNA aptamer, which is able to tightly bind to cancer related miRNA-21 motif. Our lab plan to chemically synthesize the derivatives mirror-image RNA and do the in vitro RNA SELEX, with the miRNA-21 molecule as the immobilized ligand.
Post-doctoral Fellowship - Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 12/2013
Post-doctoral Fellowship - Massachusetts General Hospital 11/2019
PhD - Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 05/2012