Nick Kreofsky attended the 2023 Fall ACS Meeting and presented his research poster at both the Sci-Mix and PMSE/POLY joint poster sessions. PMSE officers and the Executive Committee selected Nick’s poster as a PMSE Best Poster Winner. The title of his research poster was “Cinchona Alkaloid Polymers Demonstrate Highly Efficient Gene Delivery Dependent on Stereochemistry, Methoxy Substitution, and Length.” See below for a description of his research project. Congratulations to Nick!
Nicholas’ research focuses on the utilization of cinchona alkaloid natural products to create highly efficient polymers for nucleic acid delivery. Nucleic acid therapies are a rapidly developing field of medicine with the potential to treat, cure, and/or prevent a multitude of diseases. To enable these treatments to reach their fullest potential, effective, scalable delivery vehicles for the genetic material must be discovered. Quinine and other cinchona alkaloids are an attractive target towards this end as they can more effectively bind and deliver genetic material owing to their ability to bind via both electrostatics and intercalation. Current work focuses on evaluating structure-activity relationships for cinchona alkaloid polymers to better understand their efficacy. The findings suggest that these polymers are especially sensitive to molar mass, with longer chains outperforming shorter chains in every biological hurdle. Additionally, the methoxy group found on some of the cinchona alkaloids plays a critical role in the binding of polymers to DNA. Lastly, stereochemistry was found to be a fine-tuning handle to modulate performance.