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IMRE seminar on "Innate Defense Mechanisms, Cell Survival, Signalling & Proliferation: The Search for New Anti-viral Targets for Influenza A Virus"
8 Dec 14 (Mon) - 02.30pm - 03.30pm
Sporadic outbreaks of epizootics like Ebola, SARS, Avian and Swine Flu remind us of the potential for communicable diseases to quickly spread into worldwide epidemics. Despite improved surveillance and quarantine measures, we find ourselves in the midst of a H1N1 and H7N9 influenza pandemic. Effective and new therapeutic targets are essential to protect against current and future pandemics and the best route to achieving this is through a detailed and global view of virus–host interactions. Here, we provide our perspective on the role of virus-host interactions in deepening our understanding of the scope for the discovery of new anti-viral targets. We have deployed a variety of experimental systems that allow current models to be refined and thus provide us the basis for further predictions and hypothesis generation. By examining these changes in a comprehensive manner, we have been able to discover exciting new insights into innate immunity, cytokine and cell signalling, cell survival and proliferation thus shedding new vision on strategies used by influenza viruses to overcome these cellular barriers.

IMRE seminar on"Novel Romp-based Polymers that Mimic Protein Activity"
10 Dec 14 (Wed) - 10.00am - 11.00am
The combination of unique molecular scaffolds and guanidinium-rich side chains has produced an array of polymers with robust transduction (and delivery) activity. Being a new area, the fundamental interactions between these new scaffolds and the plasma membrane are just beginning to be understood. We will discuss our recent results in which we have successfully mimicked that biological activity of protein transduction domains like HIV-TAT. For example, we present the first metal cation-based anion exchange membranes (AEMs), synthesized by copolymerization and cross-linking of a norbornene monomer functionalized with a water-soluble bis(terpyridine)ruthenium(II) complex and dicyclopentadiene, and the first detailed structure-activity relationship of a new PTD family of polymers based on a completely abiotic backbone.

IMRE seminar on "Functional DNA Nanotechnology : Precise Spatial and Dynamic Controls of Nanomaterials Assembly and its Applications in Sensing, Imaging and Medicine"
11 Dec 14 (Thu) - 10.00am - 11.00am
Genetic control of the assembly of complex biological structures in response to internal chemical or biological stimuli has been one of the hallmarks of biology. DNA has been shown to be highly programmable molecules resulting in a number of 2D and 3D nanostructures. Despite the promise, functionalizing these structures has been challenging. We have developed a novel method of using phosphorothioate DNA as anchors, and a bifunctional linker as a rigid molecular fastener that can connect nanoparticles to specific locations on the DNA backbone. Precise distance controls between two nanoparticles or proteins with nanometer resolution have been demonstrated. Furthermore, discovery of the genetic code is one of the most important achievements in biology. Inspired by this pioneering work, we have reported discovery of DNA codes for fine control of the shape and morphology of nanomaterials.

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