Lurie Cancer Center Member
Gayle Woloschak, PhD
Professor, Radiation Oncology; Feinberg School of Medicine
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Dr. Woloschak is developing for intracellular use a new type of bio-nanocomposite that has novel functional properties inside cells and in vitro. These nanocomposites are composed of metal oxide (TiO2) nanoparticles (4.5 nm in size, surface coated with glycidyl isopropyl ether) and DNA oligonucleotides bound via dopamine to the nanoparticles. Within the nanocomposites DNA oligonucleotides retain base-pairing specificity, while the TiO2 nanoparticles exhibit photoreactivity. Moreover, TiO2 nanocomposites exhibit semiconducting properties through both constituentsexcitation of TiO2 (exposure to electromagnetic radiation of energy above 3.2 eV) results in charge separation with accumulation of electrons in metal oxide and irreversible trapping of the electropositive holes in the sugar molecules of the DNA phosphodiester backbone leading to the cleavage of the DNA. She are currently developing these nanoparticles for cancer imaging and therapy. A second project in the laboratory involves understanding the role of the gene encoding proliferating cell nuclear antigen in radiation sensitivity. This work involves studies with the wasted mouse, a model which shows sensitivity to ionizing radiation, immunodeficiency, and motor neuron disease. A final component of the work in the laboratory involves studies of tissues from mice and dogs irradiated with various doses, dose-rates and qualities of ionizing radiation.