Prof. Ellen Sletten began her independent career at UCLA in 2015 after graduate work at UC Berkeley with Prof. Carolyn Bertozzi and postdoctoral work at MIT with Prof. Timothy Swager. The Sletten Group works at the interface of chemistry, materials, and biology. Specific interests include poly(2-oxazoline)-stabilized nanoemulsions as dynamic, smart delivery vehicles and polymethine fluorophores for optical imaging in the shortwave infrared region.
The Sletten Group develops methods and materials to detect and perform chemistries in vivo, which will enable new therapeutics and diagnostics. The key to our approach is the unique use of fluorine. Droplets of fluorous solvent allow for multifunctional nanoemulsions to be prepared in one step. The fluorous droplets are stabilized in water using poly(2-oxazoline) block copolymer amphiphiles, which can be covalently functionalized with targeting agents or engineered to respond to intracellular stimuli. Therapeutic payloads can be loaded into the nanoemulsions using fluorous tags attached via covalent, self-immolative, or non-covalent linkages. The nanoemulsions can be visualized through the introduction of fluorous visible, near-infrared, and shortwave infrared fluorophores to the center of the nanoemulsions. We are particularly interested in labeling the nanoemulsions with shortwave infrared fluorophores such that real-time non-invasive biodistribution studies can be performed.
Day, R.D.; Estabrook, D.A.; Wu, C.; Chapman, J.O.; Togle, A.; Sletten, E.M. “Systematic study of perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions stabilized by polymer amphiphiles.” ACS Applied Mat. Interface. 2020.