Muna I. Naash

Contact Information:
Muna I. Naash


Naash, Muna I. (HSC)

Department of:

College Of Medicine/Cell Biology -Professor

Center of:

OK Center for Neurosciences -Member


Baylor College of Medicine   PhD  

Professional Interest/Expertise/Specializations:
The goal of our program is to advance our current compacted DNA nanoparticle based gene therapy technology to enable efficient and long-lasting gene delivery to dividing and non-dividing cells. The program merges experts with molecular bioengineering, physics, chemistry, and computer science backgrounds at OUHSC, Stanford University and Copernicus Therapeutics, Inc, to accelerate essential preclinical steps for effective non-viral gene therapy. We have filed two patents for the application of this technology in ocular diseases and have shown in our recent publication the efficacy of this technology in transfecting ocular tissues (Farjo, et al, 2006). Our goal is to engineer DNA vectors with efficient uptake and transport through the plasma membrane (PM) that can provide persistent transgene expression without toxicity. This technology can unimolecularly compact DNA with lysine polymers substituted with polyethylene glycol (PEG) into neutral charge nanoparticles with radii of less than 8 nm. These particles can penetrate the cell membrane via nucleolin receptor associated endocytosis and cross the nuclear membrane pore to the nucleus within 15 minutes. The DNA condensation formulation can compact linear or circular DNA and RNA which enabling us to eliminate plasmid backbone sequences known to play a significant role in inhibiting gene expression. The potential scientific and clinical benefits of these enhancements are substantial.


Research Projects:

Selected Publications:

Overexpression of ROM-1 in the Cone-Dominant Retina.
2012    Chakraborty D, Conley SM, Nash Z, Ding XQ, Naash MI.
Adv Exp Med Biol
Mislocalization of Oligomerization-Incompetent RDS is Associated with Mislocalization of Cone Opsins and Cone Transducin.
2012    Conley SM, Chakraborty D, Naash MI.
Adv Exp Med Biol
Increased cone sensitivity to ABCA4 deficiency provides insight into macular vision loss in Stargardt's dystrophy.
2011    Conley SM, Cai X, Makkia R, Wu Y, Sparrow JR, Naash MI.
Biochem Biophys Acta
Nanoparticle-mediated gene transfer specific to retinal pigment epithelial cells.
2011    Koirala A, Makkia RS, Cooper MJ, Naash MI.
Retinal degenerations: genetics, mechanisms, and therapies.
2011    Macdonald IM, Naash MI, Ayyagari R.
J Ophthalmol