Past Event

2022 BMS Lecture, Presented by Prof. Hanadi Sleiman

September 8, 2022
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
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DNA Nanostructures: From Design to Biological Function

Presented by Prof. Hanadi Sleiman
Hosted By Prof. Colin Nuckolls


DNA is known to us as the molecule of life, the blueprint that defines who we are. But the very properties that make DNA such a reliable molecule for information storage also make it one of the most remarkable building materials.

Over the past few years, our research group has taken DNA out of its biological context and has used this molecule to build nanostructures, for applications in biology and materials science. Starting from a minimum number of DNA components, we create 3D-DNA host structures, such as cages, nanotubes and spherical nucleic acids that are promising for targeted drug delivery. They can be precisely controlled in size, shape, and presentation of molecules on their surface; they can load drug cargo and deliver it on demand, in response to disease-specific biological triggers. We find that they resist nuclease degradation, silence gene expression, and have a favorable in vivo distribution profile. The applications of these DNA structures as drug delivery vehicles to cancer cells will be described. We will also discuss the ability of small molecules to completely reprogram the assembly of DNA, away from Watson-Crick-Franklin base-pairing into new motifs.


Hanadi Sleiman is Professor of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair in DNA Nanoscience at McGill University. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University and was a CNRS postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn’s laboratory at the Université Louis Pasteur. She joined the faculty at McGill University in 1999, and her research group focuses on using the molecule DNA as a template to assemble nanostructured materials for drug delivery and diagnostics.

Sleiman is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Associate Editor of J. Am. Chem. Soc., and Editorial Advisory Board member of Chem, JOC, and ChemBioChem. Among her recognitions are the NSERC John C. Polanyi Award (2021), Research Corporation Cottrell STAR award (2021), Killam Research Fellowship (2018), CSC R. U. Lemieux Award (2018), Netherlands Scholar Award in Supramolecular Chemistry (2018), Izatt-Christensen Award in Supramolecular Chemistry (2016), Swiss Chemical Society Lectureship (2012), CIC E. Gordon Young Award (2011), CSC Strem Award (2009).  She received the McGill Principal’s Prize and the Leo Yaffe Award for Excellence in Teaching.

More About Prof. Sleiman

1. N. Seeman, H. Sleiman, DNA Nanotechnology, Nat. Rev. Mat., 2017, 17068.
2. F. Rizzuto, C. Platnich, X. Luo, M. Dore, C. Lachance-Brais, G. Cosa, H. Sleiman, A dissipative
pathway for the structural evolution of DNA fibers, Nat. Chem., 2021, 13, 843–849.
3. M. Dore, T. Trinh, D. de Rochambeau, P. Xu, J. Li, H. F. Sleiman, Chem, 2021, 7, 2395-2414.
4. K. E. Bujold, J. C. C. Hsu and H. F. Sleiman; Optimized DNA “Nanosuitcases” for Encapsulation
and Conditional Release of siRNA, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 14030–14038.



BMS Speakers


Peter Cheng: “Discovery of LPA 1 receptor antagonists for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis diseases”
Rich Fox: “Evolution of Improved Route for BMS-986278: Key Strategies, Decisions and Metrics”

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is one of a number of chronic, progressive and fatal fibrotic lung diseases with limited approved treatment options. The lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPA 1 ) antagonist BMS-986020 was efficacious in slowing lung function decline in a 6-month placebo-controlled Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with IPF, as measured by rate of decline of forced vital capacity (FVC).   However, further clinical development of BMS-986020 was discontinued due to the occurrence of cases of hepatobiliary toxicity, which was attributed to the inhibition of key bile acid and phospholipid transporters by BMS-986020.  In part 1, to address this issue (and to improve the physicochemical profile of BMS-986020), a medicinal chemistry strategy of concomitantly increasing the C(sp 3 )/C(sp 2 ) ratio as well as the overall polarity of BMS-986020 was implemented.  The medicinal chemistry effort which resulted in the discovery of BMS-986278, a novel, potent LPA 1 receptor antagonist, will be discussed.  In part 2, work on the subsequent evolution of an improved route to BMS-986278 will be described.  Key to this work was leveraging data analytics to drive decision-making, and focusing on synthetic innovation & “Green-by-Design” principles to deliver significant improvements across the 3 P’s of Sustainability (i.e., People, Planet, Profits).  BMS-986278 is currently in Phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of IPF and PF-ILD (progressive fibrosing interstitial lung disease), and represents a novel and promising treatment of IPF and other fibrotic diseases.

Contact Information

(212) 854-2202