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Development and Application of Artificial Intelligence Algorithms for Linear and Circular mRNA

7 March 2024

About speaker

Professor Liang Zhang

Professor Liang Zhang currently serves as a Professor at China Pharmaceutical University and is a member of the Vaccine Professional Committee of the Chinese Society of Biotechnology. His research focuses on the design of nucleic acid-based drugs, including linear mRNA, circular mRNA, and small interfering RNA. He also specializes in predicting novel tumor antigens and developing algorithms for RNA structure analysis and prediction.

He is the co-first author and the principal developer of the mRNA vaccine design algorithm, LinearDesign, published in Nature. He recently developed a circular mRNA design algorithm called circDesign, which enhances circular mRNA's circularization efficiency, stability, and translatability.

Professor Zhang completed his undergraduate studies at Nankai University and obtained a master's from HKUST. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Oregon State University. Formerly, he worked at Baidu's Research Institute in the US, focusing on AI drug development. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (SW-BIC-213) that Dr. Zhang designed and developed in collaboration with StemiRNA received emergency use approval in Laos the year before last and just completed Phase III clinical trials last year.


This presentation is about the innovative use of AI algorithms for advancing RNA-based therapeutics, with a spotlight on linear and circular mRNA technologies. It underscores these algorithms' pivotal role in designing mRNA sequences, enhancing the development of vaccines against infectious diseases, cancer neoantigens, and protein replacement therapies. Through the application of AI-driven tools like LinearDesign and circDesign, the presentation demonstrates significant improvements in the stability and efficacy of mRNA sequences. This optimization leads to higher protein expression levels and bolstered immune responses, showcasing the potential of computational methodologies in revolutionizing mRNA drug development. These technological advancements offer promising avenues for combatting infectious diseases and cancer, cementing the importance of RNA-based therapies in the future of medicine.

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