The innovation engine for new materials

Alex Gilewski

Alex Gilewski


University of California Santa Barbara



Site Abroad: 

Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands


Roxanne Kieltyka

Faculty Sponsor(s): 

Bert Meijer

Project Title: 

Janus-Type Wedges for RNA Interference Medicine Delivery

Project Description: 

RNA interference (RNAi) medicine is a new technology that has great potential to combat cancer and infectious disease. Small RNA molecules are able to silence specific genes (human or otherwise) efficiently, rapidly, and safely. These molecules are easy to synthesize and are inexpensive. However, the human body readily degrades them in the blood. A delivery mechanism is needed. Hydrogels provide the perfect scaffold to attach RNAi molecules to where they need to be. The purpose of this study is to synthesize a Janus-type (two-faced) molecule that can attach the RNAi molecule to the hydrogel scaffold. One such molecule contains the hydrogen bonding arrays of both uracil and cytosine. The uracil face will bond with adenine in the RNAi and the cytosine will bond to the ureido-pyrimidone (UPy) hydrogellator in the scaffold. We report the synthesis and characterization of 1-(2,6,8-trioxo-1,2,5,6,7,8-hexahydropyrimido[5,4-d]pyrimidin-4-yl)urea from 5-aminouracil.