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Nucleic Acid Therapeutics Research

Research Focus

Dr Rakesh Veedu and his team’s research is focused on novel functional nucleic acid-based biotechnologies for developing target–specific therapies for neurological diseases, inherited/genetic disorders, and solid cancers.

Specifically, research involves the development and applications of:

  • Nucleic acid aptamers
  • Antisense oligonucleotides
  • siRNA and antimiRs
  • DNAzymes

Dr Veedu is also an Honorary Fellow at the University of Queensland’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

Head of Research


Dr Hadi Al Shamaileh: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Mr Bao Tri Le: PhD Student

Ms Madhuri Chakravarthy: PhD Student

Mr Suxiang Chen: PhD Student

Mr Kamal Rahimizadeh: Visiting PhD Student

Mr Venkatesh Gavini: PhD student (University of Queensland, Associate Supervisor)

Ms Milena Fratini: Honours Student

Ms Michelle Stephen: Honours Student

Ms Sally Paine: Honours Student

Ms Prithi Raguraman: Visiting Student



  • Dr Rakesh Veedu, Honorary Research Fellowship, SCMB, University of Queensland (2015-2017)
  • Best Young Scientist Lecture Award (SCNAC, Czech Republic, 2008)

  • Francine Kroesen Travel Fellowship, Annual award for an outstanding student, University of Queensland (2003)

  • Graduate School Research Travel Award, University of Queensland (2003)


  • McCusker Charitable Foundation Fellowship, Veedu RN, 2015-2019 $600,000
  • Ghrelin axis as a target for prostate cancer therapy, NHMRC Project Grant, 2014-2016 $566,226
  • Western Australia Dept. of Health – Merit Award 2016, $75,000
  • Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia (MSRA) – Incubator Grant 2016, $24,850
  • University of Queensland Research Fellowship, $278,000; 2010-2013
  • University of Queensland Teaching Fellowship, ResTeach, $23,480; 2011
  • University of Queensland Early Career Research Grant, $22,000; 2011


Le BT, Adams AM, Fletcher S, Wilton SD, and Veedu RN (2017) Rational design of short locked nucleic acid-modified 2’-O-methyl antisense oligonucleotides for efficient exon-skipping in vitro. Molecular Therapy – Nucleic Acids, 9, 155–161. doi: 10.1016/j.omtn.2017.09.002 [Rank: Q1; Cell Press]

Chakravarthy M, Chen S, Dodd PR, Veedu RN (2017) Nucleic Acid-Based Theranostics for Tackling Alzheimer’s Disease. Theranostics, 7, 3933-3947. doi:10.7150/thno.21529 [Rank: Q1; IF = 8.712]

Hughes Q, Le BT, Gilmore G, Baker R, Veedu RN (2017) Construction of a bivalent thrombin binding aptamer and its antidote with improved properties. Molecules, 22(10), 1770. DOI: 10.3390/molecules22101770 [Rank: Q1; MDPI]

Le BT, Murayama K, Shabanpoor F, Asanuma H and Veedu RN (2017) Antisense oligonucleotide modified with serinol nucleic acid (SNA) induces exon skipping in mdx myotubes. RSC Advances, (2017) 10, 34049-34052. DOI: 10.1039/C7RA06091B

AlShamaileh H and Veedu RN (2017) Next generation nucleic acid aptamers with two base modified nucleotides improve the binding affinity and potency. ChemBioChem. (2017) DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201700276

Chakravarthy C, Aung-Htut MT, Le BT, Veedu RN (2017) Novel Chemically-modified DNAzyme targeting Integrin alpha-4 RNA transcript as a potential molecule to reduce inflammation in multiple sclerosis. Scientific Reports (2017) 7, 1613. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-01559-w

Chen S, Le BT, Rahimizadeh K, Shaikh K, Mohal N, Veedu RN (2016) Synthesis of morpholino nucleic acid (MNA)-Uridine phosphoramidite, and exon skipping using MNA/2’- O-Methyl mixmer antisense oligonucleotide. Molecules, 21, 1582.

Lipi F, Chen S, Chakravarthy M, Rakesh S, Veedu RN (2016) In vitro evolution of chemicallymodified nucleic acid aptamers: Pros & cons, and comprehensive selection strategies. RNA Biology, 13(12):1232-1245.

Le BT, Filichev VV, Veedu RN (2016) Investigation of twisted intercalating nucleic acid (TINA)-modified antisense oligonucleotides for splice modulation by induced exon-skipping in vitro. RSC Advances 6 (97), 95169-95172

Le BT, Chen S, Abramov M, Herdewijn P, Veedu RN (2016) Evaluation of Anhydrohexitol nucleic acid, Cyclohexenyl nucleic acid and D-Altritol nucleic acid-modified 2’-O-methyl RNA mixmer antisense oligonucleotides for exon skipping in vitro. Chemical Communication, 52, 13467- 13470

Veedu RN (2016) Nucleic Acids. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 69(10), 1071-1072

Chaudhary R, Roy K, Kanwar RK, Veedu RN, Krishnakumar S, Cheung CHA, Verma AK, Kanwar JR (2016) E-Cadherin Aptamer-Conjugated Delivery of Doxorubicin for Targeted Inhibition of Prostate Cancer Cells. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 69, 1108–1116

Bao TL, Veedu RN, Fletcher S, Wilton SD (2016) Antisense oligonucleotide development for the treatment of muscular dystrophies. Expert Opin Orph Drugs 4(2): 139-152.

Edwards SL, Poongavanam V, Kanwar JR, Roy K, Hillman KM, Neerati P, Leth-Larsen R, Petersen M, Marusic M, Plavec J, Wengel J, Veedu RN* (2015) Targeting VEGF with LNA-stabilized G-rich oligonucleotide for efficient breast cancer inhibition. Chemical Communications 51: 9499-9502. [IF = 6.718].

Veedu RN*, Editorial: medicinal chemistry of aptamers. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. 2015;15(12):1065. [IF = 3.45].

Kokil GR, Veedu RN*, Ramm GA, Prins JB, Parekh, HS (2015) Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Limitations of Conventional Therapies and Intervention with Nucleic Acid-Based Therapeutics. Chemical Reviews, In Press (DOI: 10.1021/cr5002832). [IF = 45.66].

Aaldering LJ, Tayeb H, Krishnan S, Fletcher S, Wilton SD, Veedu RN* (2015) Smart Functional Nucleic Acid Chimeras: Enabling Tissue Specific RNA Targeting Therapy. RNA Biology 12: 412-425. [IF = 5.377].

Wilton SD, Veedu RN, Fletcher S. The Emperor’s new dystrophin: finding sense in the noise. 2015 Trends in Molecular Medicine, 2015 1471-4914/

Roy K, Kanwar RK, Antonio Cheung CH, Lee Fleming C, Veedu RN, et al. (2015) Locked nucleic acid modified bi-specific aptamer-targeted nanoparticles carrying survivin antagonist towards effective colon cancer therapy. RSC Advances 5: 29008-29016. [IF = 3.7].

Kanwar JR, Roy K, Maremanda NG, Subramanian K, Veedu RN, et al. (2015) Nucleic Acid-Based Aptamers: Applications, Development And Clinical Trials. Current Medicianl Chemistry, In Press (PMID: 25723512) [IF = 3.71].

Sriramoju B, Kanwar R, Veedu RN, Kanwar JR (2015) Aptamer-Targeted Oligonucleotide Theranostics: A Smarter Approach for Brain Delivery and the Treatment of Neurological Diseases, Curr Topic Med Chem, 2015;15(12):1115-24. [IF = 3.45].

Edited Book

“Aptamers: Tools for Targeted Nanotherapy and Molecular Imaging” Eds. Rakesh N. Veedu, Pan Stanford Publishing Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2015, Accepted (3rd August 2015).

Book Chapter

Aaldering LJ, Krishnan S, Fletcher S, Wilton S, Veedu RN*, Aptamers as therapeutic tools in neurological diseases, In “Aptamers: Tools for Targeted Nanotherapy and Molecular Imaging” Eds. 8 Rakesh N. Veedu, Pan Stanford Publisher, Singapore, 2015, Accepted (3rd August 2015).