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[Illinois] BioNanotechnology Seminar Series Spring 2012: Cationic, Helical Polypeptide Based Gene Delivery for IMR90 Fibroblasts and Human Embryonic Stem Cells

By Jonathan Yen

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New diblock copolymers consisting of poly(ethyleneglycol)-block-poly(γ-(4-(piperidin-1-yl)ethanaminomethylbenzyl)-L-glutamate), PEG-b-PVBLG-8 were synthesized for the effective transfection of hard to transfect cells like IMR90, human fetal lung fibroblasts and human embryonic stem cells (hESC). The diblock copolymers maintain a water soluble cationic helical polypeptides block, with the PEG reducing toxicity of the PVBLG-8. It also allows the copolymer to maintain its high helical content, without dramatically compromising its ability to condense the DNA. Polymers with varying degrees of polymerization of PVBLG-8 were synthesized to identify the most effective vehicle for gene delivery. The diblock polymer with a polymerization degree of 287 demonstrates greater transfection efficiency and lower toxicity in IMR90 cells when compared with the commercial Lipofectamine 2000, giving a transfection efficiency of 21.4% and about 80% cell viability. We also demonstrate the potential for the polymer to be used in hESC. In summary, this polymer demonstrates the effective use of peptide based delivery vehicles for gene delivery.


Jonathan Yen grew up in the city of Hillsborough in the San Francisco Bay Area. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He has done research on mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cells under Dr. Miguel Ramalho-Santos at UCSF and Dr. Linzhao Cheng at Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering. He is currently in the Bioengineering Graduate program, working under Dr. Fei Wang and Dr. Jianjun Cheng. His current research is on the development of 3D scaffolds for directed human pluripotent stem cell differentiation and protein/DNA delivery systems for stem cells. His goal is to bring stem cells to the clinical level to treat various diseases and damaged tissue. His interests outside of the lab are Go, tennis, and traveling to Taiwan, Brazil and Japan. He holds dual nationality of the US and Brazil.

From Jonathan Yen's IGERT page

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Jonathan Yen (2013), "[Illinois] BioNanotechnology Seminar Series Spring 2012: Cationic, Helical Polypeptide Based Gene Delivery for IMR90 Fibroblasts and Human Embryonic Stem Cells,"

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1000 MNTL, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL


NanoBio Node, Adeeb Yunus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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