Recombinantly expressed tobacco mosaic virus nanocarrier for chemotherapeutic applications

Summer 2016

Kenneth Han : Chemical Biology

Mentor: Matthew B. Francis

Current administration of chemotherapeutics lack specificity and have adverse effects to the body. Thus, to mitigate these effects, significant research has been done to attaching drugs to nanocarriers that range from gold to protein scaffolds. I will be working with protein based nanocarriers, derived from the tobacco mosaic virus to increase the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. The protein is genome free, which makes the drug carrier a harmless protein capsid. By attaching the drug to the protein via an acid labile linker, the drug will be cleaved from the protein in acidic environments. This controlled release of the drug increases specificity towards cancer cells, as the environment around tumor cells is acidic. Furthermore, unlike other nanocarriers, proteins are biodegradable and can be easily excreted out of the body after delivering the drug. 

I am so grateful for the Rose Hills Foundation for providing tremendous support to my education and endeavors. The scholarship has allowed me to pursue full-time research in a laboratory over my last summer here at Cal. I am excited for my research to culminate with a paper and furthering chemotherapeutic research. I plan to pursue a PhD in Chemistry after graduating and one day lead a laboratory.