Image of Bethany Powell Gray

Bethany Powell Gray

Assistant Professor


Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
Hunterian 315


Using nucleic acid chemistry and biology to create safer cancer drugs and tunable imaging agents for cancer detection.

Traditionally antibodies have been considered the gold standard of targeting ligands, able to specifically target desired cellular targets with high affinity. Aptamers, small nucleic acid ligands, are targeting ligands with antibody-like affinities and specificities at a fraction of the size. Our lab selects novel aptamers against different cancer targets and utilizes the unique properties of aptamers to better detect, image and treat tumors. This involves the use of both in vitro biological aptamer selection techniques as well as oligonucleotide synthesis methods. Our ultimate goal is to develop new clinically relevant therapeutic and imaging agents to improve patient outcomes.

Gray BP*, Song X*, Hsu DS, Kratschmer C, Levy M Barry AP and Sullenger BA. An Aptamer for Broad Cancer Targeting and Thearpy. Cancers2020; 12(11):3217. * Co-first authors. PMID – 33142831

Gray BP, Requena MA, Nichols M and Sullenger BA. Aptamers as Reversible Sorting Ligands for Preparation of Cells in their Native State. Cell Chem Biol. 2020; 27:232-244. PMID – 31879266

Powell Gray B, Kelly L, Ahrens D, Barry A, Kratschmer C, Levy M and Sullenger BA. Tunable Cytotoxic Aptamer-Drug Conjugates for the Treatment of Prostate Cancer. PNAS. 2018; 115(18):4761-4766. PMID – 29666232

McGuire MJ, Gray BP, Li S, Cupka D, Byers L, Wu L, Rezaie, S, Liu Y-H, Pattisapu N, Issac J, Oyama T, Diao L, Heymach J, Xie X-J, Minna J, and Brown KC. Identification and Characterization of a Suite of Tumor Targeting Peptides for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Scientific Reports. 2014; 4:4480. PMID – 24670678

Gray BP and Brown KC. Combinatorial Peptide Libraries: Mining for Cell-Binding Peptides. (Review) Chemical Reviews. 2014; 114(2):1020-1081. PMID – 24299061

Gray BP, McGuire MJ, and Brown KC. A Liposomal Drug Platform Overrides Peptide Ligand Targeting to a Cancer Biomarker, Irrespective of Ligand Affinity or Density. PLoS One. 2013; 8(8):e72938. PMID – 24009717

Gray BP, Li S, and Brown KC. From Phage Display to Nanoparticle Delivery: Functionalizing Nanoparticles with Multivalent Peptides Improves Targeting to a Cancer Biomarker. Bioconjugate Chemistry. 2013; 24(1):85-96. PMID – 23186007

Li S, Gray BP, McGuire MJ, and Brown KC. Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of a Peptide- Paclitaxel Conjugate which Targets the Integrin avb6. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. 2011; 19(18):5480-5489. PMID – 21868241

Powell BD, Powell GL, and Reeves PC. Phosphonium Ionic Liquids as Solvents for Nitration Reactions of Arenes. Letters in Organic Chemistry. 2005; 2:550-553.