"News" table of contents

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May 2024

  • Congratulations to Joe Gorecki on his successful PhD defense, where he shared all the interesting synthetic chemistry he has been working on to enhance the endosomal escape properties of our nucleic acid nanocapsule formulation!

  • Rachelle Canete is selected for the Bobbitt-Chou Research Fellowship for Summer 2024 from the UConn Chemistry Department. Congrats Rachelle on this achievement!

April 2024

Undergraduate Researcher Lisa Liang receives a UConn IDEA grant to support her work on developing new targeted RNA therapeutics to glioma cells in our ongoing collaboration with Dr. Henry Smilowitz at UConn Health Center. Congrats Lisa!


January 2024

Undergraduate Research Lisa Liang receives the honor of University Scholar, congrats Lisa!

August 2023

We had a great lab reunion and end of the summer get together. Good to see lab alums and hear about their careers! Excited for a great year of science ahead for both current and former Rouge Lab members!

June 2023

Congrats to Ina de la Fuente on a fantastic PhD Defense this month. We wish her well at her new postdoc position in the lab of Dr. Richard Vachet at UMass Amherst!

May 2023

  • The group has received a SPARK Technology Commercialization Grant from the University of Connecticut! We are excited to use these funds to further develop our nucleic acid delivery platforms!
  • Our studies detailing the mechanism of cellular uptake of our nucleic acid nanocapsules was accepted for publication in Bioconjugate Chem this month. This exciting study helps us understand how the chemistry we designed into our system affects the ability of nucleic acid cargo to internalize into cells.
  • Congrats to our recent graduates Shraddha Sawant and Ina de la Fuente (Shraddha returned to be hooded)! You have made important contributions to our lab and we look forward to what you will achieve next!Bottom row first from right : Ina de la Fuente next to Shraddha Sawant, Far far right: Dr. Rouge. 

March 2023

Our recent study investigating the ways in which our drug delivery vehicle can enhance the therapeutic effectiveness and safety of a small molecule zinc chelator was accepted for publication in ChemBioChem – congrats Shraddha and the rest of the team on this promising study!

September 2022

9/28/22 New journal artwork came out today with the publishing of Josh Santiana and Shraddha Sawant’s paper on multilayered nucleic acid nanocapsules. Thank you to Joe Luciani for making us this beautiful cover art! The cover depicts multilayered nanomaterials engaging cells and releasing cargo from each layer stepwise  and in an enzyme trigger fashion as the particle is internalized.

July 2022

Congrats to Shraddha Sawant who recently defended her PhD! It was an excellent talk showcasing all of her many achievements in moving our NAN delivery platform towards translational and in vivo applications!

Shraddha will be starting as a scientist at Laronde, an mRNA therapeutics company based in Cambridge, MA. We are very excited for her and her next chapter of her career and research (and sad to say goodbye!)

July 2021

  • Congrats to Josh Santiana who successfully defended his PhD!
  • Congratulations to our lab’s former postdoc Dr. Binglin Sui who has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Dakota, opening his lab this Fall. We wish you all the best as you start your independent career!

June 2021

  • Congrats to Shraddha Sawant and former lab member Alyssa Hartmann on their collaborative work with Dr. Steve Szczepanek’s group on the in vivo delivery of nucleic acid nanocapsules published in ACS Nano titled: A GATA3 Targeting Nucleic Acid Nanocapsule for In Vivo Gene Regulation in Asthma.
  • Congrats to Mark Tolentino who has successfully defended hi PhD! Mark is off to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals next month to work on RNA delivery. Congrats Mark!
  • The group had a fun time celebrating Mark and Saketh’s graduations and a send off to the next phases of their careers!

May 2021

  • Congrats to Saketh Gudipati for successfully defending his PhD! Saketh is off to work at Quantum Si this summer! Congrats Saketh!

  • Congrats to David Loe for successfully defending his MS thesis this month!

April 2021

  • Dr. Rouge is awarded Tenure by the UConn Board of Trustees! She is very grateful to all the hard work of her students past and present and the amazing mentorship at UConn for helping her achieve this.
  • Mark Tolentino is selected as a finalist for the 2021 Merck Research Award for Underrepresented Chemists of Color! Congrats Mark on this achievement!
  • Dr. Yudhistira Tesla joins our group as a postdoctoral associate from the University of Strasbourg. Welcome Tesla!

March 2021

Mark Tolentino’s paper “A thermoresponsive crosslinker for reversible micelle stabilization” is accepted in Materials Advances! Congrats Mark!

February 2021

Our groups review “Viral mimicry as a Design Template for Nucleic Acid Nanocarriers,” led by Ina has been accepted in Frontiers in Chemistry: Rising Stars of 2020.

November 2020

Arif’s paper on fluorescent nucleic acid nanocapsules for tracking cellular uptake of surfactants and oligonucleotides is accepted!

August 2020

Arif accepts a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Congrats Arif. You will be missed!

July 2020

The Rouge Group was awarded an NIH MIRA R35 Grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)! We are very grateful for this support for our work and look forward to studying therapeutic nucleic acids and improving their uptake into cells!

NIH-logo – UCRC

June 2020

  • The first Rouge Lab member has graduated! Congrats to Alyssa Hartmann, on her successful defense of her PhD in the chemistry department on June 1oth 2020! Alyssa will be heading off to a postdoc at the National Cancer Institute this Fall. We will all miss her when she goes!!

April 2020

  • Congrats to Halle Barber for being awarded the American Chemical Society’s Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior! Well deserved!!
  • Congrats to Mark Tolentino, Alyssa Hartmann and David Loe on their paper recently accepted into the Journal of Materials Chemistry B! This work highlights the advantages of using micelles and MOFs to build hybrid multifunctional nanomaterials.
  • Congrats to Halle Barber, our senior undergraduate researcher who has recently decided to attend McGill University for graduate school to pursue a PhD in Chemistry! We are so proud of you! You will be missed!
  • Our group’s Liquid Cell TEM images were featured in a new UConn collaborative program that combines digital media and science. See the link below for a fun interpretation of CoFeO NPs in motion! 

March 2020

  • Congrats to Alyssa and Saketh – their recent work with our collaborators in Galway, Ireland has been accepted in Bioconjugate Chemistry. It was a fun international effort between our group and Dr. Luca Ronconi’s group in the Chemistry department at NUI Galway The work aimed to find new and more efficient ways to deliver siRNA alongside potent metallodrugs. Our research was also highlighted by the journal with the artwork below! Artwork credits to Joe Luciani .

December 2019

  • Happy holidays from the Rouge Group – fun was had at the annual Holiday Bowling Outing this December!

  • Congrats to Alyssa Hartmann in our group who was selected to receive the Spring 2020 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Award!

November 2019

Congratulations to Mark Tolentino who was selected to attend Merck’s “Rising Stars in Analytical Chemistry and Materials Science Symposium.” For this recognition Mark was invited to present a poster at Merck in  Rahway, NJ. Congrats Mark!

October 2019

Our collaborative work with Dr. Ying Li in Mechanical Engineering was accepted in Nanoscale. The work is a balance of experimental work (David Loe) and simulation (Zhiqiang Shen) complemented by theory and is entitled  “Polymer Stiffness Governs Template Mediated Self-Assembly of Liposome-Like Nanoparticles: Simulation, Theory and Experiment.”

September 2019

Thank you to Uconn’s In Vivo Podcast for featuring our work this month on their exciting Podcast series.  Take a listen if you are interested in learning more about how we work to deliver therapeutic nucleic acids in new ways!

August 2019

The group’s review on nucleic acid nanostructures for gene regulation was featured on the Cover of Trends in Biotechnology, Cell Press!


June 2019

Dr. Rouge receives the 2019 NSF CAREER award from the Chemistry Division for her work entitled: Multi-stimuli Responsive DNA-Nanoshells – Compartmentalizing Molecules at the Nanoscale for Enhanced Reaction Selectivity and Sensitivity.  With this funding the group will be able to explore new nanomaterial designs that can be used to control the ways in which nanomaterials are assembled and degraded in response to specific stimuli. The award will also help to support the various outreach activities of the group. Thank you NSF for this generous support!

Dr. Rouge is the recipient of the Program in Accelerated Therapeutics for Healthcare (PATH) Award from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Together with the lab of Dr. Steve Szczepanek in the Department of Pathobiology the Rouge Group will study the pharmacology of nucleic acid nanocapsules (NANs), in particularly how their unique nucleic acid delivery platform is metabolized within cells and tissues.  The Rouge lab thanks the OVPR for their generous support!

May 2019

Dr. Rouge, in collaboration with electron microscopist Dr. Lucas Parent received a 2019 Research Excellence Award from the OVPR to visualize DNA nanomaterials using Liquid Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy (LC-TEM). The work will be carried out at the Thermo Fisher Scientific Center for Advanced Microscopy and Materials Analysis (CAMMA) at UConn’s Tech Park, where the nucleation of biomaterials and enzyme-mediated nanoparticle assemblies will be studied in real time.

The lab welcomes Dr. Md Arifuzzaman to the group from Iowa State University. Welcome Arif!

April 2019

Congrats to undergraduate researchers Patrick Corrigan and Halle Barber for being awarded research fellowships for this summer!  Patrick received the Chemistry Department’s Research Summer Fellowship award and Halle received UConn’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) award.  Looking forward to a summer of great research!

March 2019 

Congrats to Cassie George, Glastonbury high school researcher in the lab who was chosen as a finalist at the 2019 Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair for her work on nanocapsules!

January 2019

Our group’s Review Article on delivering nucleic acids using nanomaterials was accepted in Trends in Biotechnology! Congrat’s Saketh Gudipati.

December 2018

Thank you to all our speakers who came to present at the student-speaker RNA Salon meeting Dec 13th! At the first 2019 meeting we learned about viral RNA inhibitors of PKR, RNA that can sense metal ions, and interesting interactions that can occur when RNA is circularized. We thank our speakers, Cassie Zerbe (UConn), Jose Cobo (CUNY), and Qikun Yu (UMass Amherst) seen below holding 3-D printed RNA and protein crystal structures (their speaker gifts!). All talks supported by funds from the RNA Society, co-organized by Saketh Gudipati and Dr. Rouge.

From left to right: Dr. Rouge, Cassie Zerbe (Cole Lab, UConn), Jose Cobo (Ryan Lab, CUNY), Qikun Yu (You Lab, UMass Amherst), Saketh Gudipati (UConn).

October 2018

The Rouge lab has received a second year of funding for the UConn RNA Salon from the RNA Society! We will be organizing another series of exciting talks on RNA Chemistry and its applications in the coming months, stay tuned for future announcements.

Sept 2018

Dr. Rouge presented at an exciting session on “Nucleic Acid Chemistry” at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society  in Seattle Washington.

July 2018

  • Our recent paper in ChemBioChem was featured on the front cover.  (Pictured  to the right) Congrats to Alyssa Hartmann and her co-authors!
  • Congrat to David Loe for being awarded a Thermo Fisher Scientific Fellowship from the UConn Thermo Fisher Center for Advanced Microscopy and Materials Analysis (CAMMA).

June 2018

May 2018

  • Congrats to graduating seniors Emily Saccuzzo and Nicole Gomez! Emily will be heading off to Georgia Tech’s Chemistry PhD program this Fall and Nicole will be heading off to a research position at Yale. We will miss you but wish you the best at your new research positions!

Left: Emily Saccuzzo, ’18. Right: Nicole Gomez, ’18.

  • Congrats to Tushar Sondhi on getting accepted to Berkeley University! We wish you the best as you embark on your undergraduate studies on the west coast!

Right: Tushar working with Dr. Rouge on preparing AuNP templated reverse micelles for nucleic acid delivery.

April 2018

Dr. Rouge and UConn Health Collaborator Dr. Ephraim Trakhtenberg win a Promising Project Award from the Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health (PITCH) program.  The work will involve the targeting of novel nucleic acid nanomedicines to retinal ganglion cells (bottom left) for promoting axon regeneration in optical neuropathies. Details of the work can be found here.

Congrats to Glastonbury high school researcher Tushar Sondhi in our group for being selected as a finalist at this years Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair for his project entitled:”Engineering an enzyme responsive genetic delivery vehicle.”

Right: Tushar Sondhi at the Glastonbury STEMposium presenting his work on “Engineering an Enzyme Responsive Genetic Delivery Vehicle.”

March 2018

  • The chemistry department’s 2018 Randolph T. Major Lecture series hosted an exciting set of lectures this year with an RNA-centered theme! We thank Dr. Szostak and Dr. Jaffrey for sharing their fascinating research with us!

Above: Dr. Samie Jaffrey of Weill Cornell Medical College, sharing his recent advances with fluorescent RNA aptamers (left) and Dr. Jack Szostak from Harvard/MGH sharing his synthetic chemistry approaches that help elucidate the RNA world hypothesis and the origins of cellular life (right).

February 2018

This year the Biological Chemistry Division of the UConn Chemistry Department will be organizing the 2018 Randolph T Major Lecture Series in Chemistry.  This years Keynote speaker will the 2009 Nobel Laureate Dr. Jack Szostak – check back for details.

"News" table of contents

  1. News
  2. Page 2