We were ecstatic to learn that Assistant Professor Arghya Paul's research has been featured in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Nano Journal. This journal has an Impact Factor of 13.7. His research lab is called the BioIntel Group, and the title of the highlighted article is "Harnessing the Noncovalent Interactions of DNA Backbone with 2D Silicate Nanodisks To Fabricate Injectable Therapeutic Hydrogels.” The article can be found in the September 6th web edition of the publication, a link to that is here.
Injectable hydrogels present several advantages over prefabricated scaffolds including ease of delivery, shear-thinning property, and broad applicability in the fields of drug delivery and tissue engineering. Here, we report an approach to develop injectable hydrogels with sustained drug release properties, exploiting the chemical nature of the DNA backbone and silicate nanodisks. A two-step gelation method is implemented for generating a combination of noncovalent network points, leading to a physically cross-linked hydrogel. The first step initiates the development of an interconnected structure by utilizing DNA denaturation and rehybridization mechanism to form hydrogen bonds between complementary base pairs of neighboring DNA strands. The anisotropic charge distribution of two-dimensional silicate nanodisks (nSi) makes them an active center in the second step of the gelation process. Silicate nanodisks create additional network points via attractive electrostatic interactions with the DNA backbone, thereby enhancing the mechanical resilience of the formulated hydrogel. The thermally stable hydrogels displayed an increase in elasticity and yield stress as a function of nSi concentration. They were able to form self-supporting structures post injection due to their rapid recovery after removal of cyclic stress. Moreover, the presence of nanosilicate was shown to modulate the release of a model osteogenic drug dexamethasone (Dex). The bioactivity of released Dex was confirmed from in vitro osteogenic differentiation of human adipose stem cells and in vivo bone formation in a rat cranial bone defect model. Overall, our DNA-based nanocomposite hydrogel obtained from a combination of noncovalent network points can serve as an injectable material for bone regeneration and carrier for sustained release of therapeutics.
The website NanoWerk published a feature article on Dr. Paul’s revolutionary research as well. In the article they quoted Dr. Paul stating, “As a bio and nano-materials engineering lab we are constantly trying to explore the structural properties of different polymers and nanoparticles to design smart materials for diverse biomedical applications including regenerative medicine.” They also explained that "The DNA-nanosilicate hydrogel is formed by a combination of non-covalent network points without the need of any toxic chemical crosslinkers. DNA denaturation and rehybridization mechanism as well as attractive electrostatic interactions of nanosilicates with the DNA backbone are utilized to generate an interconnected network via a two-step gelation process." To read the full article, click here.
Dr. Paul directs the Bio-Intel Laboratory to develop new classes of biofunctional nanomaterials for drug and gene delivery, regenerative tissue engineering and advanced biomedical devices for translational research. Specifically, the lab aims to: (1) innovate at the biomolecular and cellular level to develop biomedical technologies, (2) exploit the stem cell-material interactions and mechanistic pathways, and (3) discover therapeutic and diagnostic strategies which can be translated to point-of-care patient applications.
Learn more about his research team here.
Congratulations go out to Dr. Paul and his entire team for this amazing accomplishment!