Institute for Medicine and Engineering
University of Pennsylvania
Vagelos Research Labs
3340 Smith Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
1) M.S. Chemical Engineering, Lehigh University, 2001
2) B.S. Chemical Engineering, Lehigh University, 2000
Dexamethasone-spermine (DS) is a pharmacologically active cationic glucocorticoid formed from the conjugation of dexamethasone, a potent glucocorticoid, with the polyamine spermine. The structure of DS differs from most glucocorticoids due to the covalently bound spermine moiety making the molecule more polar with amphiphilic character. This molecular arrangement parallels the structures of many cationic lipids used to form liposomes and has the added distinction of retaining glucocorticoid activity. The focus of my work is to investigate the action of DS as both an anti-inflammatory therapeutic agent and a pharmacologically active gene transfer vector in several chronic inflammatory conditions. The modified structure of DS in comparison to the parent steroid molecule could alter the dynamics of GC-GR complex dimerization or interaction with other transcription factors. Analysis of the activity of this compound will uncover any potential dissociated character which could separate the anti-inflammatory activity from undesired effects on gene regulation common in glucocorticoid therapy.