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The University of Southampton
OLIGOMED - Oligonucleotides for medical applications

ESR Project. 4, Karolinska Institutet (SE)

Development of ON nanoconstructs for therapy


ESR4 Anthony Cunha
Anthony Cunha

Anthony Cunha obtained his master’s degree in Organic Chemistry and Life Sciences from the University of Bordeaux (UB), to study biomedical molecules, particularly in medicinal chemistry, bio-conjugation, vectoring and diagnostics.

During his 6 month internship, he worked on the synthesis and biological evaluation of several nucleolipid derivatives formulated into a nanoemulsion vehicle for Parkinson’s disease. This work resulted in the research paper “Synthesis and Intracellular Uptake of Rhodamine–Nucleolipid Conjugates into a Nanoemulsion Vehicle”.

In 2018 he applied to an interdisciplinary thesis (chemistry-biology) and specialized in the field of drug delivery. During the last three years, in the ChemBioPharm team of Professor Philippe Barthélémy, he dedicated himself to the design of GlycoNucleoLipids (GNLs) for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. He was involved in the synthesis and formulation of GNLs into PLGA nanoparticles (NPs), before evaluating their cytotoxicity and potential activity as autophagy flux inducer on human neuronal cells.


Host institution Karolinska Institutet, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Huddinge (Stockholm), Sweden
Supervisor Prof. Roger Strömberg
Co-Supervisors   Dr. Shalini Andersson, AstraZeneca, Sweden (Industrial)
Dr. Anders Dahlèn, AstraZeneca (Industrial)
Prof. Florian Hollfelder, Cambridge University, UK (Academic)


Project description

The project involves methodology development and synthesis of ON nanoconstructs for therapeutics; ONs conjugated to multiple entities for increased efficacy of ON therapy, including entities for increased tissue specificity and cell uptake, especially oligonucleotides therapy. The methodology work will also involve use and development of enzymes for synthesis of building blocks, in collaboration with Cambridge University. ON constructs for that affect the RNA levels (activation of transcription or translation), splice switching or RNA or strand invasion of DNA will be evaluated in collaboration with AstraZeneca, SOTON and SLL.



This project is carried out in strong collaboration with the following groups:

Host laboratory

The group designs and makes bioactive molecules (and develops synthesis methods to achieve these) in order to provide tools for biomedical problems or to explore concepts for disease therapeutics. This includes work on artificial nucleases, modified and/or conjugated biomolecules (primarily peptides and oligonucleotides) as well as ligands for specific biopolymers. The group has all equipment and localities needed for the described project. This includes fully equipped organic synthesis and biopolymer synthesis laboratory including DNA/RNA synthesizer, Peptide/PNA synthesizer, UV-Vis, CD and Fluorescence spectrometers, HPLCs, NMR-spectrometer, ESI-TOF Mass spectrometer as well as access to modelling and simulation equipment as well as software and confocal microscopy.

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