Rui Huang Awarded Marvin D. Rausch Fellowship

graduate student Rui Huang

Rui Huang (Rotello lab) research: Bioorthogonal catalysis offers a unique strategy to modulate biological processes through the in situ generation of therapeutic agents. However, the direct application of bioorthogonal transition metal catalysts (TMCs) in complex media poses numerous challenges due to issues of limited biocompatibility, poor water solubility, and catalyst deactivation in biological environments. In the Rotello lab, these issues can be addressed by integrating TMCs into polymers to generate bioorthogonal “polyzymes”. Polyzymes are able to activate imaging and therapeutic agents from their inactive precursors, creating on-demand “drug factories''. Through the engineering of host polymer structures, I have synthesized a series of polyzymes that are biodegradable, biostable, and/or stimuli responsive. The therapeutic potential of polyzymes has been demonstrated in vitro for the treatment of both bacterial biofilms and cancers, with enhanced efficacy and reduced side effects.