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“Synthesis and biological activity of Cu(II) metallonucleases that target tumour cells” (Cu metallonucleases)
Start date: Jun 3, 2013, End date: Jun 2, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Dr. Diego Montagner, an Italian national who is working as a postdoc in the group of Prof. B. Longato (Padua University), is making an application to this programme to move to NUI Galway in Ireland, where he is currently spending a period as Visiting Scientist in the group of Dr. A. Erxleben, to carry out a project for 24 months in the area of medicinal inorganic chemistry.This proposal specifically deals with the synthesis of Cu(II) complexes that selectively target tumour cells and act as artificial metallonucleases, i.e. cleave the DNA of the tumour cell through a hydrolytic mechanism. Specific carrier molecules such as estrogens will be conjugated to the complexes to increase the selectivity. The catalytic activity will be tested studying DNA models (like simple phosphate diesters with good leaving groups), short oligonucleotides and supercoiled plasmid DNA. Biological tests will be performed on different tumoral cell lines, including cisplatin-resistant ones.The fellow has already an excellent background in coordination chemistry and this project will allow him to deepen and expand his skills in organic synthesis. He will learn new analytical techniques and at the final stage of the project he will enter into the biological field. Besides contributing to his overall scientific growth, this experience will be important for his long-term plans to focus his research interests on biological aspects of medicinal chemistry, such as drug-biomolecule interactions.He proposes to join NUI Galway which is strategically developing strength in Biomedical Research and Cancer, a very important and challenging branch of Chemistry/Biochemistry research in Europe. NUI Galway will also provide training in transferable skills and mentoring to Dr. Montagner. Both the scientific and personal training will contribute to his personal development and will allow him to reach professional maturity and to become an indipendent researcher.
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