Engineering DNA-Based Tools for Chemical and Biological Sensing
Oct 27, 2023
2:30PM to 3:30PM
Date(s) - 27/10/2023
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Prof. Devleena Samanta
Dept. of Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin, USA
The ability to detect and quantify disease-relevant analytes in complex biological milieu is critical to understanding their role in disease progression and developing improved diagnostic platforms. DNA-based probes have emerged as a versatile platform for making chemical measurements due to the ability of DNA to recognize both nucleic acid and non-nucleic acid targets, be easily synthesized and chemically modified, as well as be interfaced with signal amplification schemes. However, the inability of DNA to enter cells on its own coupled with its propensity for nuclease degradation often renders these probes ineffective in biological samples. In this talk, I will discuss the development of DNA-based nanostructures with unique emergent properties, such as resistance to nuclease degradation and efficient cellular uptake. These advances enable us to perform chemical analyses of disease biomarkers within complex biofluids and living cells. In addition, I will highlight our ongoing efforts to integrate DNA with other biomolecules, creating opportunities for significantly enhanced and multiplexed analyte sensing that is not achievable through any other technique.
Devleena Samanta is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and an Associate Member of the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on the development of DNA-based programmable nanomaterials for the early detection and treatment of diseases. Devleena is also passionate about educating the next generation of scientists and strives to create opportunities for students from underprivileged backgrounds. For her research and teaching, Devleena has been a recipient of multiple awards including the Outstanding Researcher Award from the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN), College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award at UT Austin, and Hanna Gray Finalist Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, among others.
Devleena earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University in 2017 under the mentorship of Professor Richard N. Zare. Supported by a Winston Chen Stanford Graduate Fellowship and a Center for Molecular Analysis and Design Fellowship, she innovated conducting polymer-based drug delivery systems and made seminal discoveries regarding the unusual chemical reactivity of water in microdroplets. She then pursued her postdoctoral training under the advisement of Professor Chad A. Mirkin at Northwestern University. As an IIN postdoctoral fellow, Devleena pioneered new classes of DNA-based structures for chemical analysis and biological sensing.
Outside of science, Devleena enjoys dancing, playing badminton, and traveling the world. She has also trained in the Indian classical dance form Odissi and vocal Hindustani classical music for over 15 years and holds advanced diplomas in both.
In-Person: ABB 102