PhD Proposal by Cory Sago

Cory Sago 

PhD Proposal Presentation 


Date: December 17, 2018 

Time: 2 PM 

Location: UAW 1214, Whitaker Building 

Committee Members: James Dahlman, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology, Biomedical Engineering) (Advisor)

Gabe Kwong, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology, Biomedical Engineering)

Wilbur Lam, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology, Biomedical Engineering)

Krishnendu Roy, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology, Biomedical Engineering)

MG Finn, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology, Chemistry)


Title: Development of high-throughput nanoparticle screening technologies to facilitate the delivery of genetic therapies to non-liver cell types


Abstract: Genetic drugs (such as siRNAs, mRNAs, and CRISPR/Cas9) have the potential to be curative therapies for countless diseases. However, gene therapies will only work if the genetic drug is delivered to the diseased cell type. One promising delivery method is through the use of Lipid Nanoparticles (LNPs), due to their ease of manufacture and favorable toxicity profiles. Yet, LNPs have historically seen clinical success as delivery methods to liver cells. In order to treat genetic diseases outside the liver, we hypothesized that a novel methodology for LNP discovery must be applied. Utilizing DNA barcodes to allow for the testing of >100 LNPs simultaneously, we determined that the correlation between LNP biodistribution in vitro and in vivo was negligible. Motivated by these results, we developed three novel technologies to increase the efficiency of LNP development for delivery of genetic therapies to non-liver cell types. The first technology (QUANT), allows the determination of absolute biodistribution of >150 LNPs simultaneously, we applied this to reveal the genetic mechanism by which liver endothelial and Kupffer cells uptake a majority of an injected LNP dose. The second and third technologies (FIND and siDown, respectively) enable the measurement of the cytosolic delivery of a mRNA or siRNA payload by >150 LNPs simultaneously. Using FIND, we developed a LNP that specifically delivers to splenic endothelial cells, enabling CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene editing. Using siDown, we evolved a LNP with tropism to bone marrow endothelial cells. Enabled by the ability to measure the biodistribution and function of >150 LNPs in vivo simultaneously, we have developed novel bioinformatics tools to allow us to probe how LNP chemistry impacts delivery to >30 cell types. Cumulatively, we hope that this body of work helps LNPs deliver on their promise of enabling gene therapies.

Event Details


  • Monday, December 17, 2018
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: UAW 1214, Whitaker Building