Molecular Engineering of Functional Nucleic Acid Nanomaterials toward In Vivo Applications

Jing Jing Zhang, Tian Lan, Yi Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Recent advances in nanotechnology and engineering have generated many nanomaterials with unique physical and chemical properties. Over the past decade, numerous nanomaterials are introduced into many research areas, such as sensors for environmental monitoring, food safety, point-of-care diagnostics, and as transducers for solar energy transfer. Meanwhile, functional nucleic acids (FNAs), including nucleic acid enzymes, aptamers, and aptazymes, have attracted major attention from the biomedical community due to their unique target recognition and catalytic properties. Benefiting from the recent progress of molecular engineering strategies, the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials are endowed by the target recognition and catalytic activity of FNAs in the presence of a target analyte, resulting in numerous smart nanoprobes for diverse applications including intracellular imaging, drug delivery, in vivo imaging, and tumor therapy. This progress report focuses on the recent advances in designing and engineering FNA-based nanomaterials, highlighting the functional outcomes toward in vivo applications. The challenges and opportunities for the future translation of FNA-based nanomaterials into clinical applications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1801158
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 21 2019


  • DNAzyme
  • aptamers
  • functional nucleic acid
  • in vivo applications
  • nanomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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