Ph.D. (Stanford University, 1990)
Postdoctoral Fellow (U. Louis Pasteur, 1993)
Awards & Distinctions
Associate Editor, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2018-pres.
President of ISNSCE (International DNA Nanotechnology Society), 2019-2021
Director, NSERC CREATE training program in Nucleic Acids (PROMOTE, 2019-2025)
Killam Research Fellowship, Canada Council for the Arts, 2018
R. U. Lemieux Award in Organic Chemistry, Canadian Society for Chemistry, 2018
Albus Award, Grifols Corporation, Spain, 2018
Netherlands Scholar Award in Supramolecular Chemistry, 2017
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 2017-pres.
Izatt-Christensen Award in Supramolecular Chemistry, 2016
Member, Editorial Advisory Board, JACS, Chem, Nanoscale Hor., Bioconj. Chem., J. Org. Chem., ChemBioChem
Swiss Chemical Society Lectureship, 2013
E. Gordon Young Lectureship Award, Chemical Institute of Canada, 2012
Strem Award for Inorganic Chemistry, Canadian Society for Chemistry, 2009
Fellow, Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, Nanoelectronics Program, 2004-2012
NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement, 2008
Leo Yaffe Award for excellence in teaching, McGill University, Faculty of Science, 2005
William Dawson Scholar Award for research and teaching excellence, McGill, 2004-12
Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching, McGill University, 2003
Cottrell Scholar Award, Research Corporation (USA), for excellence in research and teaching, 2002
NSERC CREATE graduate training program: Programmed molecules for therapeutics, sensing and diagnostics (http://nserc-promote.research.mcgill.ca/)
Quebec Centre for Advanced Materials (QCAM)
McGill Centre for Structural Biology (CRBS)
- Chemical Biology
- Materials Chemistry
DNA is known to us as the molecule of life, the blueprint that defines who we are. But the very properties that make DNA such a reliable molecule for information storage also make it one of the most remarkable building materials. Our group aims to take DNA out of its biological context, and to use this molecule to build two- and three-dimensional structures. These DNA materials feature precise positioning of their components on the nanometer scale, and they can act as molecular machines that respond to specific external stimuli.
For example, we have constructed DNA cages that encapsulate drug cargo and then release it rapidly and completely when a cancer-specific molecule is present. We are optimizing these DNA cages as a new class of delivery vehicles that selectively release therapeutics into diseased cells, as probes that can report on events happening within cells, and as nucleic acid therapeutic routes.
Our construction methods are distinct, in that they combine the use of synthetic molecules with natural DNA base-pairing. This approach has led to DNA-minimal routes to materials that are practical and scalable. We have organized transition metals, gold nanoparticles, lipids and synthetic polymers on DNA scaffolds, and are developing these systems towards applications as biological sensors, enzyme mimics, light-harvesting systems, plasmonic tools and nanoelectronic components.