Honors & Awards
MCHRI Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford MCHRI (2021)
Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University, Chemical & Systems Biology
Ph.D., University of Missouri-Kansas City, Pharmaceutical Sciences (2019)
B.Pharm, Institute of Chemical Technology, Pharmacy (2011)
James Chen, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Simon Friedman, Piyush Jain, Dipu Karunakaran, Bhagyesh Sarode. "United States Patent US20150328314A1 Photocleavable Drug Conjugates", The Curators of the University of Missouri, Dec 25, 2018
Simon Friedman, Karthik Nadendla, Bhagyesh Sarode, Piyush Jain, Dipu Karunakaran, Swetha Chintala, Parth Shah. "United States Patent US 20200147215 Drug Conjugates with Photocleavable Solubility Modulators", The Curators of the University of Missouri, Apr 14, 2018
Bicyclic caged morpholino oligonucleotides for optical gene silencing
View details for DOI 10.1002/cbic.202200374
Visible-Light-Activated High-Density Materials for Controlled in Vivo Insulin Release.
2019; 16 (11): 4677-4687
In this work, we describe the synthesis, characterization, and ultimate in vivo assessment of second-generation insulin photoactivated depot (PAD) materials. These are the first to use visible light to stimulate insulin release and have an in vivo performance that is 28-fold improved relative to first-generation materials. This improvement is due to two major factors linked to the utilized chemistry: (1) we have incorporated the coumarin photocleavable group, which increases the photorelease wavelength into the visible range, enhancing tissue penetration of the light; (2) phototoggling of insulin solubility is produced by linking three insulin molecules to a central bridge via light cleaved groups, and not by bonding to a large polymer. The resulting trimer is, therefore, highly dense (87% insulin dry w/w) but retains the insolubility required of the approach. Only after irradiation with visible light is native, soluble insulin is released from the dermal depot. This high density increases the amount and ease of insulin release, as the density of photolytic groups is 10-20-fold higher than in polymer-based first-generation materials. We have synthesized new azide-terminated coumarin linkers that we react with the amine groups of insulin. Using mass spectrometry methods, we identify the sites of reaction and purify individual isomers, which we demonstrate have in vitro photolysis rates that are within a factor of 2 of each other. We then reacted these terminal azide groups with a tridentate strained alkyne linker. We show that the resulting insulin trimer is highly insoluble, but can be milled into injectable particles that release insulin only in response to light from a 406 nm light source. Finally, we demonstrate that these materials have a significantly improved in vivo performance, releasing 28-fold more insulin on a per energy basis than first-generation materials.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.9b00806
View details for PubMedID 31647241
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7050939
Hydrophobic Tags for Highly Efficient Light-Activated Protein Release.
2019; 16 (7): 2922-2928
We have previously described the photoactivated depot (PAD) approach for the light-stimulated release of therapeutic proteins such as insulin. The aim of this method is to release insulin from a shallow dermal depot in response to blood glucose information, using transcutaneous irradiation. Our first approach utilized a photocleavable group that linked insulin to an insoluble but injectable polymer bead. The bead conferred insolubility, ensuring that the injected material stayed at the site of injection, until light cleaved the link, and allowed insulin to be absorbed systemically. While this proved to be effective, the use of a polymer to ensure insolubility introduces two major design problems: (1) low concentration of insulin, as a majority of the material is composed of polymer, and (2) upon release of the insulin, the polymer has to be cleared from the system. To address these two problems, in this work, we have pursued "hydrophobic tags", photocleavable small nonpolar molecules that confer insolubility to the modified insulin prior to irradiation without the bulk or need for biodegradation required of polymers. We developed a combined solid- and solution-phase synthetic approach that allowed us to incorporate a range of small nonpolar moieties, including peptides, into the final depot materials. The resulting materials are >90% w/w insulin and have sharply decreased solubilities relative to unmodified insulin (≤1000 × lower). We demonstrated that they can be milled into low micron-sized particles that can be readily injected through a 31G needle. These suspensions can be prepared at an effective concentration of 20 mM insulin, a concentration at which 120 μL contains 7 days of insulin for a typical adult. Finally, upon photolysis, the insoluble particles release soluble, native insulin in a predictable fashion. These combined properties make these new modified insulins nearly ideal as candidates for PAD materials.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.9b00140
View details for PubMedID 31117739
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7050909
Chemical modification of proteins with photocleavable groups.
Methods in enzymology
2019; 624: 113-128
In this work, we describe methods for synthesizing and incorporating a wide range of photocleavable groups into proteins. These are based on the di-methoxyl nitro phenyl ethyl (DMNPE) group. Using a common ketone starting material, we have modified the DMNPE core with different peptides and small molecules. We describe how these can be incorporated into DMNPE either by solution or solid phase methods. In addition, we show how the ketone group can be effectively converted into a hydrazone group and ultimately into a diazo. The potential pitfall of azine formation is also delineated, as are the strategies for avoiding this side product. We then show how these modified diazo groups can then be reacted with the carboxyl groups of the protein to make the final ester product. Finally, we show how the ultimate product can be purified, and the products identified using 280 and 345nm ratios, as well as ESI-MS characterization. The combined methods should allow the incorporation of many possible photocleavable groups into a range of proteins, and allow the ultimate properties of the modified protein to be subsequently toggled with light.
View details for DOI 10.1016/bs.mie.2019.04.008
View details for PubMedID 31370926
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7050930
Light Control of Insulin Release and Blood Glucose Using an Injectable Photoactivated Depot.
2016; 13 (11): 3835-3841
In this work we demonstrate that blood glucose can be controlled remotely through light stimulated release of insulin from an injected cutaneous depot. Human insulin was tethered to an insoluble but injectable polymer via a linker, which was based on the light cleavable di-methoxy nitrophenyl ethyl (DMNPE) group. This material was injected into the skin of streptozotocin-treated diabetic rats. We observed insulin being released into the bloodstream after a 2 min trans-cutaneous irradiation of this site by a compact LED light source. Control animals treated with the same material, but in which light was blocked from the site, showed no release of insulin into the bloodstream. We also demonstrate that additional pulses of light from the light source result in additional pulses of insulin being absorbed into circulation. A significant reduction in blood glucose was then observed. Together, these results demonstrate the feasibility of using light to allow for the continuously variable control of insulin release. This in turn has the potential to allow for the tight control of blood glucose without the invasiveness of insulin pumps and cannulas.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.6b00633
View details for PubMedID 27653828
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5101575
Polymerizing Insulin with Photocleavable Linkers to Make Light-Sensitive Macropolymer Depot Materials.
2016; 16 (8): 1138-46
The use of light-sensitive polymers for the release of therapeutics is an important approach allowing the timing and amount of the release to be controlled precisely. The use of light has been pioneered to control insulin release from a dermal photoactivated depot, or PAD. One of the main impediments to the use of light-sensitive polymers in this context is the density of the materials: The large majority of the material is the carrier polymer, with the minority being the therapeutic. In this work, the feasibility of using insulin itself as a monomer in the polymerization process is demonstrated. Insulin modified with either one or two light cleavable azide groups is polymerized with a tridentate alkyne-bridging monomer using a click reaction. The resulting material called a "macropolymer" is ≈85% insulin, is insoluble in aqueous solvent, and releases native, soluble insulin upon irradiation.
View details for DOI 10.1002/mabi.201500471
View details for PubMedID 27171861
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5081178