Lessandro De Paepe
Doctoral Fellow – Organic and Biomimetic Chemistry – Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry - UGent
Principal investigator: prof. Annemieke Madder (PhD)
My research is focused on the targeting of alternative secondary nucleic acid structures, such as G-Quadruplexes (G4s) and i-Motifs (iMs). These structures are strategically located throughout the human genome and transcriptome, and are believed to regulate important biological processes, such as gene expression, telomere elongation and miRNA maturation. Therefore, they are gaining huge interest in cancer research and could constitute novel anticancer targets. In line with the majority of existing anticancer therapies, we aim to covalently target these structures, using our furan-based cross-linking platform, previously developed within our research group. However, given the omnipresence of the targeted G4 and iM structures, there is a need for structure-specificity and sequence-specificity. To achieve this, we are exploiting a system that combines ligands, targeting a specific secondary structure, and oligonucleotide analogues, allowing the recognition of a specific sequence.
Lessandro De Paepe studied Pharmaceutical Sciences at Ghent University and received his Master’s degree in Drug Development in 2021. He did his Master dissertation in the OBCR group and dedicated the master project to developing a furan-based cross-linking strategy to selectively target G-Quadruplexes. After graduating, he started as a PhD candidate in the same group to continue the research on the topic of his master thesis.
- ‘Beyond small molecules: targeting G-quadruplex structures with oligonucleotides and their analogues’. Nucleic Acids Res., 2021. (PMID: 33978760)