Jørgen Kjems

Research project: Nucleic Acid Function and Technology

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. We are located at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, and are associated with the following research centers: Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) and Centre for DNA Nanotechnology (CDNA). 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.