Remi Veneziano (George Mason University)
The DNA origami technology enables the programmed self-assembly of nanoarchitectures of prescribed shape and size. The unique addressability of the DNA origami facilitates orthogonal patterning of various biomolecules and/or inorganic molecules with unprecedented control over their stoichiometry and spatial distribution. Thus, DNA origami nanoparticles have been used to assemble functionalized structures that can precisely mimic complex macromolecular assemblies such as viruses and toxins. These biomimetic architectures represent a promising alternative to traditional nanocarriers used in many biomedical applications. In this talk, I will explain how we can leverage this technology for rational design of safe and effective vaccines. I will first show that we can assess and define specific structural features of antigen presentation that lead to strong immune cell activation using DNA nanoparticles displaying precise organization of antigens on their surface. Then, I will present the results obtained with our strategy for rapid assembly of novel vaccines that induce strong immunization and protection against SARS-CoV-2 in a mouse model. Altogether, these results highlight the potential of DNA origami to assess the role of viral antigen nanopatterning on immune cell activation and the efficacy of this approach to help inform the design of a novel efficient and safe vaccine strategies against several infectious diseases.
Dr. Remi Veneziano joined the Bioengineering Department at George Mason University in the Fall 2018 with the objective of developing a highly translational-research program focusing on using DNA nanotechnology for biomedical applications. These applications include targeted delivery of biologics (RNA, proteins), vaccine platform development, design of novel probes for deep in vivo imaging, and synthesis of new composite biomaterials for cancer immunotherapy. Prior to this position, he was a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT in the Department of Biological Engineering, where he worked on various aspect of DNA nanotechnology including the development of a new type of 3D wireframe DNA nanoparticles for biomedical applications.
TIB Colloquium Series