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Improving binding interactions with multivalency

PhD defence, Wednesday, 12 January 2022, Marjan Omer.

2022.01.12 | Mie Meulengracht Christensen

Marjan Omer

Many biological processes are mediated by the synergy of multivalent interactions, as for example seen with the entry of influenza virus to a host cell. The principle of multivalency can thus be exploited to enhance cell and tissue targeting for bioimaging purposes and to modulate a response. During her PhD studies, Marjan Omer employed nucleic acids as building blocks for engineering nanoscaffolds of well-defined architectures displaying multivalent ligands to investigate the effect of multivalency in cell uptake and tumor targeting in mouse models. Furthermore, multivalent nanoscaffolds were used to study the molecular requirements for activation of B cells, a crucial component of our immune system, in close collaboration with researchers at the Department of Biomedicine as a part of the research center CellPAT. The PhD project has contributed to the understanding of the role of multivalent interactions in cell and tissue targeting and shed lights on the highly debated B cell activation models, which has significant relevance for the development of effective vaccines.


The PhD study was completed at Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Wednesday, 12 January 2022 at 14:15
Place: The PhD defence will be held online. To receive a link to the event, please send an e-mail to Jørgen Kjems, jk@mbg.au.dk
Title of PhD thesis: Interfacing cells with designer nanostructures to control cell uptake and immune response through multivalent interactions
Contact information: Marjan Omer, e-mail: marjan@inano.au.dk, tel.: +45 50577174
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Mark Bathe, Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
Professor Kirill Afonin, Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina, USA
Professor Mingdong Dong (chairman), iNANO, Aarhus University, Denmark
Main supervisor:
Professor Jørgen Kjems, iNANO and Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Denmark
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.

The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Natural Sciences/GSNS, Katrinebjergvej 89F, building 5132, 8200 Aarhus N.

PhD defence
16882 / i43