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Dennis Bong


Dennis Bong




285 CBEC Building
151 W Woodruff Ave
Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic


Dennis Bong received a BSc in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley while working with Professor K. Peter C. Vollhardt and his PhD from The Scripps Research Institute with Professor M. Reza Ghadiri. Following a postdoctoral stint with Professor Ronald Breslow at Columbia University in New York, he joined the chemistry faculty at The Ohio State University in 2004 where he is a full professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.


Research Overview

 Our research group uses organic synthesis and biochemistry to study the chemical biology of nucleic acids. Through synthesis and design, our group develops new functional polymer, peptide, lipid and nucleic acid assemblies to provide chemical solutions for problems in delivery and to develop novel compounds that can report on and modulate nucleic acid function. Though each research effort is grounded in organic synthesis, these synthetic systems are interrogated using biophysical, biochemical and cell culture methods.

Much of our current research centers on the use of an unnatural triazine heterocycle, melamine, as an artificial base triple with U/U or T/T. When displayed multivalently, the melamine base engages with two Watson-Crick faces of thymine/uracil in DNA/RNA, resulting in the formation of triple-stranded hybrid structures. Synthetic triplex hybridizing molecules that utilize melamine as a base triple are in a family of molecules we call “bPNA” to represent bifacial [Peptide/Peptoid/Polymer] nucleic acid, according to the backbone used for melamine display. We have studied bPNAs as allosteric switches for aptamer binding and ribozyme catalysis, functional probes, directed cleavage reagents as well as packaging and targeting elements for nucleic acid delivery. Current research continues along these lines.

The Bong Research Group is currently seeking new graduate students.


Recent Publications

Liang, Y.; Miao, S.; Mao, J.; DeSantis, C.; Bong, D. Context-Sensitive Cleavage of Folded DNAs by Loop-Targeting bPNAs. Biochemistry 2020, 59 (26), 2410–2418. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biochem.0c00362.

Xia, X.; Zhou, Z.; DeSantis, C.; Rossi, J. J.; Bong, D. Triplex Hybridization of siRNA with Bifacial Glycopolymer Nucleic Acid Enables Hepatocyte-Targeted Silencing. ACS Chem. Biol. 2019, 14 (6), 1310–1318. https://doi.org/10.1021/acschembio.9b00273.

Miao, S.; Liang, Y.; Marathe, I.; Mao, J.; DeSantis, C.; Bong, D. Duplex Stem Replacement with bPNA+ Triplex Hybrid Stems Enables Reporting on Tertiary Interactions of Internal RNA Domains. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141 (23), 9365–9372. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.9b03435.

Liang, Y.; Mao, J.; Bong, D. Synthetic bPNAs as Allosteric Triggers of Hammerhead Ribozyme Catalysis. In Methods in Enzymology; Academic Press, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.mie.2019.04.028.

Mao, J.; DeSantis, C.; Bong, D. Small Molecule Recognition Triggers Secondary and Tertiary Interactions in DNA Folding and Hammerhead Ribozyme Catalysis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139 (29), 9815–9818. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.7b05448.

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