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UW-Eau Claire Speaker to Discuss
Use of NanoScience in Medicine

RELEASED: March 18, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — The department of physics and astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will sponsor a seminar on the use of nanoscience in medicine by Dr. Gretchen Unger, founder and chief scientific officer of GeneSegues, Inc. of Minneapolis, a private biotech firm specializing in the development of nucleic acid drugs and delivery systems, particularly in the field of cancer.

The presentation, "Sub-50 Nanometer Capsules for Targeted Delivery of Nucleic Acid- Based Therapies and Diagnostics," is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Room 104 of Phillips Science Hall. The presentation is free and open to all interested health professionals and members of the public.

Unger will discuss the fundamental principles behind the synthesis and initial application of sub-50 nanometer nanocapsules in medicine. Unger said her firm has developed a scalable process for producing nanocapsules capable of delivering large molecules intact into target cells, and that the size and structure of these nanocapsules allows for efficient distribution to primary and distant disease cells, enabling exploitation of a novel and highly-efficient uptake path into the cell.

According to Unger, the ability to direct nanocapsules to different target cells via judicious selection of targeting ligands, and the ability to deliver the nucleic acids intact to the nucleus of the cell, opens a potentially attractive approach for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, non-viral gene therapy, and other applications.

Unger received her bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering, followed by ten years of experience in the chemical industry developing a wide range of industrial coating formulations and related process scale-up. She subsequently received a doctoral degree in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota, with her thesis work focusing on signal transduction of cellular adhesion in wound healing. Following postdoctoral research with the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation and a National Institute of Health-sponsored fellowship in the University of Minnesota Otolaryngology department, Unger founded GeneSegues, Inc. with the goal of developing drug delivery technology to enable and improve the efficacy of biologic drugs.

Unger is an inventor or co-inventor on ten patents and patent applications, and has co-authored five peer-reviewed journal articles. As principal investigator, she has been awarded four Small Business Innovation Research grants, and has participated in NIH grant review panels, including the Cancer Nanotechnology Centers of Excellence.

For more information, contact physics professor Dr. Kim Pierson, at 715-836-5009 or piersokw@uwec.edu.

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NW

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