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Jørgen Kjems

Jørgen Kjems

Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics - Gene Expression and Gene Medicine

Research project: Nucleic Acid Function and Technology

MAIN FOCUS AREAS:

-> Understanding how non-coding RNAs contribute to cell maintenance and disease development with a primary aim of defining new targets for disease intervention.

-> Creating novel bioimaging and delivery systems for gene medicine (e.g. siRNA, miRNA mimics, antimiRs) with a specific focus on inflammation, cancer, influenza, and regeneration of damaged tissue (tissue engineering).

-> Designing and constructing functionalized self-assembled DNA and RNA nanostructures capable of complex biosensing, coupled with controlled action e.g. drug release, enzyme activation, and receptor signaling.   

Kjems lab 2018

We are working with RNA and DNA biochemistry, chemical modification of nucleic acids, cell biology, delivery of oligonucleotides to cells and animal models, fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) of nucleic acids.

The Kjems lab is located at the interdisciplinary Nanoscience center (INANO) and at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG), both parts of Aarhus University.

Jørgen Kjems is the Director of the Danish National Research Foundation's research centre CellPAT 

The group is composed of three research laboratories described below:


Nucleic Acid Technology

We design the structure and function of nucleic acids for applications in nanomedicine and nanotechnology. The main approaches are structural DNA nanotechnology for rational design of novel molecular devices and selection strategies for aptamer development. Apart from standard molecular biology techniques our main tools are computer modelling, chemical modification, and biophysical characterization.

RNA interference

We study miRNA; the biogenesis and functionalities in context of cancer (bladder or oral) or in context of basic research to understand the mechanisms at stake. Furthermore, we optimize siRNA design towards high knockdown efficiency, low toxicity and minute off-target effects for superior siRNA performance in vivo.

Drug delivery

We develop drug carrier systems such as chitosan to deliver mainly siRNAs in vitro and in vivo. One of our main goals is to use siRNAs for therapeutic approaches in certain inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, we have a focus on optimizing bioimaging using for instance magnetic nanoparticles in combination with MRI. Last but not least we are also using nanoparticle functionalized 3D scaffolds (functionalized with e.g. siRNAs) and stem cells for a number of tissue engineering applications.