NYU to Bioengineer MRI-Traceable Smart Protein for Theranosis

Youssef Wadghiri, PhD, (left) and Jin Montclare, PhD, in the Preclinical Imaging Core lab at NYU School of Medicine


NYU investigators plan to build protein fibers capable of self-assembly, targeted drug delivery to cells, and real-time non-invasive monitoring via MRI in a project newly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

If successful, the collaboration may result in the first synthetic protein fiber with a built-in imaging component, enabling verification of drug delivery to specific tissues at the mesoscale—crucial for theranosis, the practice of tailoring therapy to a particular patient.

Jin Montclare, PhD, an expert in protein engineered biomaterials at Tandon School of Engineering is the project's principal investigator (PI); Co-PIs are Richard Bonneau, PhD, expert in computational-based design of protein and director of Center for Data Science (CDS), and Youssef Wadghiri, PhD, member of CAI2R and director of the preclinical imaging core at NYU School of Medicine.

Awarded $1.5 million by the NSF, the team will iterate through computational design, experiment, and high-throughput screening to engineer a protein fiber called "coiled coil." Experimental and screening results will identify coiled coils that exhibit desired self-assembly and binding traits; Investigators will then use these results to further refine computational protein design and to repeat the cycle, eventually leading to optimized fibers with stable desired characteristics.

Learn more about the project from Center for Data Science and from Tandon School of Engineering.

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We gratefully acknowledge generous support for radiology research at NYU Langone Medical Center from:
 
• The Big George Foundation
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler
• Bernard and Irene Schwartz

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