University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Francis C. Szoka, Jr., PhD

Francis C. Szoka, Jr., PhD

Professor, Departments of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Experimental Therapeutics

Research Summary

Our group has focused on improving gene, recombinant protein and drug delivery using biophysical, molecular biology and chemical approaches. We have applied biophysical approaches to create methods and tools that are now widely used to manufacture liposomes, polyplexes and lipoplexes. We have extensively investigated the mechanisms of non-viral gene delivery. Our recent efforts in the treatment of cancer involves the design and synthesis of prodrugs and the generation of amorphous nanosized drug particles to improve the bioavailability of sparingly soluble anticancer drugs.

Education

John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, A.B., 1965, Liberal Arts
University of Maryland, College Park, MD, M.S., 1971, Microbiology
SUNY/Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, Ph.D., 1976, Biochemistry

Selected Publications

  1. Zhou G, Chu S, Kohli A, Szoka FC, Gochin M. Biophysical studies of HIV-1 glycoprotein-41 interactions with peptides and small molecules - Effect of lipids and detergents. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2020 Dec;1864(12):129724.
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  2. Nguyen DN, Roth TL, Li PJ, Chen PA, Apathy R, Mamedov MR, Vo LT, Tobin VR, Goodman D, Shifrut E, Bluestone JA, Puck JM, Szoka FC, Marson A. Polymer-stabilized Cas9 nanoparticles and modified repair templates increase genome editing efficiency. Nat Biotechnol. 2020 Jan;38(1):44-49.
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  3. Yoneshiro T, Wang Q, Tajima K, Matsushita M, Maki H, Igarashi K, Dai Z, White PJ, McGarrah RW, Ilkayeva OR, Deleye Y, Oguri Y, Kuroda M, Ikeda K, Li H, Ueno A, Ohishi M, Ishikawa T, Kim K, Chen Y, Sponton CH, Pradhan RN, Majd H, Greiner VJ, Yoneshiro M, Brown Z, Chondronikola M, Takahashi H, Goto T, Kawada T, Sidossis L, Szoka FC, McManus MT, Saito M, Soga T, Kajimura S. BCAA catabolism in brown fat controls energy homeostasis through SLC25A44. Nature. 2019 Aug;572(7771):614-619.
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  4. Dolor A, Sampson SL, Lazar AA, Lotz JC, Szoka FC, Fields AJ. Matrix modification for enhancing the transport properties of the human cartilage endplate to improve disc nutrition. PLoS One. 2019 Apr 10;14(4):e0215218.
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  5. Tang J, Srinivasan S, Yuan W, Ming R, Liu Y, Dai Z, Noble CO, Hayes ME, Zheng N, Jiang W, Szoka FC, Schwendeman A. Development of a flow-through USP 4 apparatus drug release assay for the evaluation of amphotericin B liposome. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2019 Jan;134:107-116.
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  6. Dolor A, Kierstead P, Dai Z, Szoka FC. Sterol-modified PEG lipids: alteration of the bilayer anchoring moiety has an unexpected effect on liposome circulation. Chem Commun (Camb). 2018 Oct 28;54(84):11949-11952. doi: 10.1039/c8cc05011b. Epub 2018 Oct 5. Erratum in: Chem Commun (Camb). 2018 Nov 13;54(91):12891.
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  7. Dolor A, Szoka FC Jr. Digesting a Path Forward: The Utility of Collagenase Tumor Treatment for Improved Drug Delivery. Mol Pharm. 2018 Jun 4;15(6):2069-2083.
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  8. Shaghaghi M, Keyvanloo A, Huang Z, Szoka FC, Thewalt JL. Constrained Versus Free Cholesterol in DPPC Membranes: A Comparison of Chain Ordering Ability Using Deuterium NMR. Langmuir. 2017 Dec 19;33(50):14405-14413.
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  9. Lee S, Kivimäe S, Szoka FC. Clodronate Improves Survival of Transplanted Hoxb8 Myeloid Progenitors with Constitutively Active GMCSFR in Immunocompetent Mice. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2017 Sep 7;7:60-73.
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  10. Kieler-Ferguson HM, Chan D, Sockolosky J, Finney L, Maxey E, Vogt S, Szoka FC Jr. Encapsulation, controlled release, and antitumor efficacy of cisplatin delivered in liposomes composed of sterol-modified phospholipids. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2017 May 30;103:85-93.
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  11. Tiffany M, Szoka FC. Co-localization of fluorescent labeled lipid nanoparticles with specifically tagged subcellular compartments by single particle tracking at low nanoparticle to cell ratios. J Drug Target. 2016 Nov;24(9):857-864.
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