Qazi portrait

Shefah Qazi

Date: Friday, September 13, 2013
Time: 4:10 PM
Place: Byker Auditorium, Chemistry & Biochemistry Building. A reception will follow.

Title: Investigating Protein Cage Architectures as Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agents


P22 viral capsids are robust and versatile platforms. The two distinct surfaces of these hollow, spherical nanocontainers allow for both encapsulation of cargo and targeted delivery of cargo to desired tissues. These platforms have three major advantages over small molecular contrast agents – large payloads of contrast agents can be delivered per capsid, the capsid can be directed to a specific molecular target and tethering a small molecule Gd-chelate to the capsid increases the rotational correlation time (τR) of the P22 nanocomposite, a key parameter for high relaxivity. Here, we explore techniques for (1) internal encapsulation of small molecule Gd-DTPA using protein-polymer hybrid systems and (2) addition of peptide ligands on the external surfaces of these viral nanoparticles for targeting and imaging atherosclerotic plaque. These agents can potentially be administered at low doses and still produce very high-contrast images, meeting an important criterion for next-generation diagnostic tools.

About the speaker:

Shefah Qazi is the recipient of a 2012 Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowship, and is currently a 4th year Ph.D. student. She earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She works in Trevor Douglas’s lab, whose focus is on building materials from protein cage-like architectures, where she works on developing these architectures as T1-enhanced MRI contrast agents for advances in medical imaging and diagnosis. She has three publications in high impact journals, JACS, Molecular Pharmaceutics and Nature Chemistry, and a book chapter on Coordination Chemistry. She feels that communicating science outside the lab is very important and she is actively involved in science outreach programs including Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Science Saturdays, Nano Days and Expanding your Horizons. Qazi used her Kopriva Graduate Student Fellowship funding to attend a Gordon Conference on Physical Virology and present a poster on my research. She plans to use her remaining funds to attend Stanford for a week to conduct in-vivo imaging experiments with the materials she is developing.