Dave Ousterout Adeno-associated virus engineering
:labmembers:newdave2.jpg Candidiate for B.S. Biological Engineering May 2009
My research is focused on using the adeno-associated virus as a method of delivering therapeutics to specific targets. The adeno-associated virus type 2, or AAV2, is a small, non-pathogenic virus that has been previously shown to have the ability to be re-targeted to a desired cell type. I want to take advantage of this capability to use the virus to destroy tumor targets and as a method of crossing the blood brain barrier (BBB). To this end, I have been working on genetically modifying the virus to present a “clasp” on its surface that is derived from the rabies virus, a peptide called RVG (rabies virus glycoprotein). This “clasp” can grab on to receptors on the blood brain barrier, which would then take up the bound virus. I also use another peptide named L14, which can target tumors that often overexpress the target receptor on their surface as compared to normal cells.

I am particularly interested in researching a new insertion site in the AAV2 virus that would more efficiently present these peptides and therefore have a higher binding affinity to its desired target cell. Currently, it is extremely difficult to deliver treatments to the brain. This research is very exciting because it could yield an extremely easy and efficient way of directly targeting the brain or specifically delivering therapeutic genes or drugs to tumors without a minimum of systemic effects. This could lead to a new, effective method of treatment for a variety of neurological diseases that have been to date a challenge to treat.
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Figure 1: A schematic of the desired infectious pathway for the virus.>
Contact info
E-mail: dgo6@cornell.edu

Last updated: 08-12-08