The Biological Implications of Altering Macromolecule Hydrophobicity (Science Seminar Series)

Science Center 103

Open to the public

/ Tuesday


Presented by Dr. Casey Dougherty, Iona College

Macromolecules have become a material of interest in the development of novel imaging agents and therapeutics in medicine. Many macromolecules, such as synthetic multivalent polymers and biologically interesting antibodies, can have multiple copies of small molecules, such as fluorescent dyes and drugs, attached to them. However, the inherent random nature of conjugation leads to a large mixture of different ratios of hydrophobic small molecules to macromolecule. The degree of hydrophobicity has the ability to alter a macromolecule’s biological behavior, and controlling the ratio of hydrophobicity has been a major obstacle in developing effective macromolecules for biomedical applications. Our work focuses on the synthesis and characterization of antibody fragments and antibody-polymer conjugates with controlled ratios of fluorophores/drugs to determine both the photophysical and biological effects of the hydrophobic ratio on a macromolecule.

Dr. Casey Dougherty received her BS in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. From there she moved to the Midwest to pursue her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. There, she developed and applied highly controlled fluorescent polymers to biological systems to determine their photophysical and biological properties. Deciding to stay at the University of Michigan for her post-doctoral career, she developed novel PET imaging agents to better detect breast, lung, and prostate cancers.