Dr. Paul Tanui

Designation: Lecturer
School/Institute: Science
Email address: paul.tanui@dkut.ac.ke

Academic Background

  Qualification   Institution   Year
 Ph.D. (Chemistry)  Binghamton University, SUNY  December 2013
 BSc. (Chemistry)  University of Nairobi, Kenya  October 2005

Intended Area of Research:
Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry on total synthesis of biological molecules for potential application in clinical medicine. Also on Natural Products chemistry on extraction of bioactive compounds for potential medicinal use.

Peer-reviewed publications

  1. Tanui, P. Kennedy, S. Lunstad, B. Haas, A. Leake, D. and Rozners, E. 2013 Synthesis, biophysical studies and RNA interference Activity of RNA Having Three Consecutive Amide Linkages. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 12 (2014) 1207-1210.
  2. Tanui, P., Kullberg, M. Song, N., Chivate, Y., Rozners, E. Monomers for Preparation of Amide Linked RNA: Synthesis of C 3′-Homologated Nucleoside Amino Acids from D-Xylose. Tetrahedron 66 (2010) 4961-4964.

Conference Talks & Presentations

  • Rozners, Eriks; Selvam, Chelliah; Tanui, Paul; Kennedy, Scott D.; Mutisya, Daniel;Lunstad, Benjamin D.; Pallan, Pradeep; Haas, Amanda; Leake, Devin; Egli, Martin.Synthesis and properties of amide-modified RNA for applications in RNA interference.Papers presentation at 247th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Dallas, TX, United States, March 16-20, 2014.
  • Rozners, Eriks; Tanui, Paul; Selvam, Chelliah; Kennedy, Scott D.; Mutisya, Daniel;Lunstad, Benjamin D.; Leake, Devin. Synthesis and properties of non-ionic RNA analogsfor applications in RNA interference. Paper presentation at 246th ACS National Meetingand Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA September 8-12, 2013.
  • Rozners, Eriks; Tanui, Paul; Selvam, Chelliah; Kennedy, Scott D.; Mutisya, Daniel;Lunstad, Benjamin D.; Leake, Devin “Nonionic Nucleic Acid Analogues: Synthesis,Properties and Applications in RNA Interference”, Oral presentation, Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester, NY, USA March, 2011.
  • Tanui, P. Selvam, C. and Rozners, E. “Synthesis and properties of amide modified RNA analogs,” ACS National Meeting Denver CO, USA, Aug. 2011.
  • Tanui Paul “Jua kali” Informal sector in Kenya; A force to be reckoned with, on Gender, Science, Technology and Socio Economic Development “NYASA National Conference, SUNY Oneonta, New York, USA, March 2011.
  • Tanui, P. Selvam, C. Thomas, S. Abbott, J. Kullberg, M and Rozners, E. “Synthesis and Properties of Amide Modified RNA Analogs”, ACS National Meeting, Washington DC, USA, August, 2009.

Previous Research Experience & Teaching Achievements

  • Designed, developed and implemented a new course, (CHEM 150) that started as an experimental course, but later approved by the university to serve as a smooth transitionfrom general chemistry to organic chemistry.
  • Designed and synthesized RNA molecules with therapeutic application in RNA interference.
  • Developed protocol for automated solid phase chemical synthesis of amide modified RNA analogues.
  • Developed methods for modified RNA purification using Reverse-Phase HPLC chromatography and flash chromatographic techniques.
  • Performed biophysical characterization to establish the secondary structure of modified RNA analogues using spectroscopic methods such as: NMR, UV melting, Circulardichroism, and DSC techniques.
  • Synthesized amide-linked short interfering RNAs (siRNAs); and studied their RNA interfering activities in collaboration with scientists from Thermo Fisher Scientific (formally Dharmacon inc.).
  • Mentored about a dozen undergraduate students in research on the RNA project.
  • Played active role in a collaborative project involving scientists from pharmaceutical company and other higher institutes of research. At the end of the project, the research attracted funding of USD. 1.5 M.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society (ACS) member: 2008- Present.
  • Secretary, American Chemical Society, Binghamton Local Section, 2014-2016.
  • President, Graduate African Student Organization, (GASO) Binghamton University, NY, USA 2009-2010.
  •  Academic Awards & Honors
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in Chemistry department, Binghamton University:
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, Binghamton University: 2011-2012.
  • Travel Award for Binghamton-Section of American Chemical Society: 2009.
  • Graduate School travel award, 2010.
  • Graduate Fellowship, Chemistry Department, State University of New York at Binghamton, Awarded a graduate teaching and research fellowships during the summers (June-August) of 2008-2012 to teach and do research towards my Doctoral studies.

Graduate Research Work

Recent studies have revealed that short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have to be chemically modified to be useful in pre-clinical design and for therapeutic agents. This is to optimize their enzymatic stability, potency, cellular uptake, biodistribution, and pharmacokinetics. My research is one of the major research interests in Rozners’ lab focusing on the synthesis of monomeric building blocks for synthesis of amide-linked backbone as a neutral and hydrophobic mimic of the natural phosphodiester linkages in RNAs for their potential use in siRNAs. Our specific aim entails the improved synthesis of monomeric building blocks of amino acids and ultimate construction of optimized manual and automated solid-phase coupling of consecutive amide linked siRNAs. The major hands-on experiences acquired are proper organic synthesis techniques in the hood including column chromatography, optimization and scale-up multiple-steps of synthetic routes, adequate understanding and use of UV-Vis Spectrometer, RNA/DNA Synthesizer, and HPLC. Testing the effects of amide-linked siRNAs on activity and cellular uptake is performed through collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific. Conformation aspects of the sequences are also done through collaboration with Rochester University.