Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Samantha Wilner


Lipid micelles represent an important class of nanoparticle with the potential to enhance the solubility and delivery of hydrophobic drugs and imaging agents. Their small size (< 50 nm) makes them ideal candidates for both passive tumor uptake and deep tissue penetration. The use of lipid micelles as delivery vehicles, however, has been challenged by the fact that these particles are inherently unstable in vivo due to concentration dependence and interactions with serum proteins. We have developed a minimalist method, which we are working to optimize, in order to stabilize the formation of micelles using lipid monomers covalently modified with short oligonucleotide sequences (16 nucleotides in length). These oligonucleotide-lipid conjugates are synthesized manually using standard phosphoramidite chemistry. Lipid phosphoramidite synthesis is confirmed using 31P NMR, and synthesis of lipid-oligonucleotide conjugates is confirmed by gel electrophoresis and HPLC. Future studies will involve the assembly of micelles in aqueous media. Micellar structure can be easily tuned in this approach by modifying lipid structure and oligonucleotide sequence, thus creating a library of micelles with varying stability. This approach provides a pathway toward the engineering of programmable micelles such that an external trigger leads to monomer exchange with serum proteins and cargo release.


Presented as part of the Ursinus College Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) held April 22, 2021.

The downloadable file is a poster presentation with audio commentary with a run time of 5:00.


Available to Ursinus community only.