The proposed research will develop micelles formed via liquid-liquid phase separation for therapeutic protein delivery. The micelles will form through electrostatic interactions between net negatively charged proteins and net positively charged polymers. This liquid-liquid phase separation will stabilize proteins in a highly ionic, hydrated environment during storage, but will deliver the therapeutic protein cargo upon cellular internalization. Formation of micelles between anionic proteins and cationic-neutral block copolymers will be studied by dynamic light scattering (DLS). A model protein, green fluorescent protein, will be engineered to investigate how protein charge parameters impact micelle formation and stability. Similarly, polymer composition and molecular weight will be screened to identify protein/polymer combinations that promote robust micelle formation under physiological conditions. The ability of the micelles to release the protein cargo will be evaluated as a function of solution pH and ionic strength. After determining the design parameters for micelle formation, the cellular delivery of the pro-apoptotic protein caspase-3 will be tested.
Lab: Obermeyer Research Group
Direct Supervisor: Rachel Kapelner
Position Dates: 5/21/2018 - 8/10/2018
Hours per Week: 40
Paid Position: No
Eligibility: Sophomore, Junior; SEAS only