Department of Bioengineering
The University of Tokyo
Ankita Jain is a PhD student from the Bioengineering Department at The University of Tokyo (UTokyo). She is presently working on the development of aptamers screening system using microarray platforms in the Ichiki Lab. She was selected under the prestigious Panasonic Scholarship to represent India with 8 other nationalities for a master's program at UTokyo. She has represented Japan internationally at the Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp), Switzerland. Her main area of interest is technology transfer into field. Ankita has worked on different projects in Cambodia (Global Health Entrepreneurship Program) & India (Hult Prize, Social Enterprise). Apart from her course work, she has also been actively involved in mentoring young students and guiding them towards developing a career in STEM. So far, she has interacted with more than 700 Japanese high school students. She is also involved in Japanese language learning programs in India at university level, to prepare young talent to help bridge the gap between India & Japan.Development of Aptamer Screening System Using High-Density Microarray Platform
Aptamers are oligomers which can bind to wide variety of targets from small ion molecules to large cells with very high specificity and binding affinity. In recent years aptamers have evolved as potent replacement of antibodies due to the ease of their production & modification, chemical properties and substantially low production and maintenance cost. Aptamer’s advantages over antibodies have resulted in significant increase of their commercial demand.
In our study we have proposed an alternative approach for screening high binding affinity and qualitatively more specific aptamers using high-density (106-107 aptamers/cm² of substrate) microarray platform. In this scheme each aptamer candidate will be screened individually against the target molecule thereby overcoming the drawbacks associated with the traditional method such as restricted amplification of high-binding affinity aptamers, often amplification of rare high binding affinity aptamer sequences was restricted due to the presence of high number of low affinity aptamer sequences in the same reaction column. Also, in traditional method unspecific binding between aptamer candidates often restrains the screening of high binding affinity aptamer. However, in proposed scheme aptamer candidates are completely separated from each other in microwells, thereby enabling individual screening of aptamer candidates. Successful proof-of-concept has been achieved using thrombin binding aptamer (TBA) is used as the positive aptamer candidate and Lysozyme binding aptamer (LBA) is used as a negative aptamer candidate with human alpha thrombin as target protein. For future work large DNA libraries with the diversity of 106 molecules will be used for the screening of TBA.
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