BSB Seminar Series: Room temperature DNA storage to enhanced Drug bioavailability: Magic molecules Ionic Liquids in action

DNA stability is a prerequisite in many of its applications, ranging from DNA-based vaccine, data storage to gene therapy. However, the existing strategies to enhance the DNA stability are ineffective and limited in scope. Ionic liquids (ILs), molten salts of organic cations and organic/inorganic anions, are showing tremendous prospects in myriads of applications. In this talk, I will show that ILs could be ideal media for long-term preservation of genomic and short-strand DNA at room conditions. Our experimental measurements show that the ILs enhance DNA melting temperature significantly, while unaltering its functional B-conformation. Molecular dynamics  simulations and quantum mechanical calculation results suggest that the intramolecular Watson-Crick H-bonding in DNA remains unaffected and, in addition, the ILs induce stronger H-bonding network in solution. In the 2nd half of the talk, I will show that ILs conjugated with representative APIs (API-ILs) enhanced the solubility of the parent APIs by 102-103 folds without compromising the cell permeability. Measured dissolution rate of the API-ILs indicate the much quicker availability of the APIs in solution compared to the parent APIs. Our finding signifies the rapid onset of action of our IL-based formulations and their requirements in significantly lower volumes that can be delivered in liquid form. Lastly, a glimpse of the use of the ILs in producing soft and adhesive hydrogels useful for surface coating and wound healing will be presented.

Dr. Senapati received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from IIT Kanpur, INDIA in 2001. Subsequently, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UNC Chapel Hill and UC San Diego, before joining IIT Madras in 2006. Currently, he is a Professor and heading the Dept. of Biotechnology at IIT Madras. His interdisciplinary research ranges from molecular dynamics of biomolecules to synthesis and characterization of novel small molecules, targeting several disease-related proteins. He has 100+ publications in international peer-reviewed journals and several Indian and US patents in his credit. He has been awarded the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship 2018 by US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF); National Bioscience Award 2015, Dept. of Biotechnology (DBT); NASI-SCOPUS Young Scientist Award in Biological Sciences, Elsevier, South Asia, 2011 etc.