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Jørgen Kjems

Jørgen Kjems

Institut for Molekylærbiologi og Genetik - Genekspression og Genmedicin

Research project: Nucleic Acid Function and Technology


-> Constructing functionalised self-assembled DNA and RNA nanostructures capable of complex biosensing, coupled with controlled action such as drug release, enzyme activation and receptor signalling.

 -> Understanding the biogenesis and function of small non-coding RNAs and circular RNAs. In particular, we're interested in how circRNAs are formed in the cell and how they function in development and disease.

 -> The creation of novel bioimaging and delivery systems for gene medicine including small RNAs, nanobodies and Cas9 with a specific focus on inflammation, cancer, influenza and tissue regeneration.

 -> Using DNA and RNA aptamers for targeted delivery, detection and inhibition of viral proteins and to profile complex biological samples.

Kjems lab 2018
Lab retreat to Oddesund, May 2019

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.