Theses Doctoral

Polymer supported probes and drugs for targeted brain imaging and pharmacology

Fiala, Tomas

This doctoral thesis details a series of projects at the border of chemistry and neuroscience leading to the development of a novel family of probes which chemically target specific cells and molecules in the brain. Chapter 1 concisely introduces the history, development and applications of probes for monitoring brain activity and highlights synthetic voltage sensitive dyes as probes which have not yet reached their full potential, partly due to the lack of targeting strategies in brain tissue. Chapter 2 details the development of a new class of polymer-supported probes for ligand-directed delivery of fluorescent voltage sensitive dyes to monoaminergic neurons in live brain tissue. The polysaccharide dextran equipped with dichloropane as a ligand and either an electrochromic or PeT-based voltage sensor selectively targets dopaminergic and noradrenergic axons in mouse brain slice preparations. The new probes enabled voltage imaging in a defined neuronal population without the use of genetic manipulation. All following chapters describe modification of one of the components of the targeting platform developed in Chapter 2 aiming to optimize its performance or broaden its application potential. Chapter 3 extends the developed polymer platform to the targeting of a different molecular target – the AMPA-type glutamate receptor – via a ligand-directed covalent labeling strategy. Chapter 4 examines PEG as an alternative polymer carrier and shows that while dextran is more universal as a carrier, PEG provides superior targeting selectivity with negatively charged PeT-based voltage sensors. A series of targetable probes with improved voltage sensitivity based on the PEG platform is introduced here as well. Chapter 5 describes the synthesis of targetable probes carrying voltage sensors for imaging modalities other than visible light fluorescence, specifically for short wave infrared (SWIR) fluorescence and photoacoustic (PA) imaging. Chapter 6 shows the first steps towards adapting the delivery platform to the development of dual-ligand drugs for cell-selective pharmacology in the brain.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2024-07-15.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Sames, Dalibor
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 31, 2020