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Bruce A. Sullenger, PhD


I am a translational researcher who has been at Duke University for 26 years working on the discovery and development of RNA/oligonucleotide therapeutics. I obtained my PhD from Weill Cornell University working at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute and postdoctoral training in RNA biochemistry with Tom Cech at the University of Colorado. My research program focuses upon the generation and development of nucleic acid therapeutics for a variety of medical applications. In particular we have worked on 1.) translational medicine for treating thrombosis in the settings of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer and 2.) therapeutic targeting of malignancies with RNA aptamer-drug conjugates. More recently my research group has also worked upon developing the use of nucleic acid binding polymers to scavenge proinflammatory RNA and DNA-containing DAMP/PAMPs released from dead and dying cells to limit pathological inflammation and generating novel guide RNAs for improved CRISPR gene editing. Moreover three different RNA/oligo-based drugs discovered/invented in my laboratory have been translated into the clinic an accomplishment recognized by the awarding of the 2015 ASGCT Outstanding Achievement award and election into the National Academy of Inventors (2018) and the AAAS (2014). In addition, I have served as the Founding Director of the Duke Translational Research Institute (DTRI; now Duke CTSI) as well as the Associate Director for Translational Research for the Duke Cancer Institute. Finally, I am a scientific founder of five biotechnology companies two of which completed IPOs and one recently securing its initial series capitalization to translate an antiplatelet oligo drug from my lab into First in Human Studies Q4, 2021. Thus, I have extensive experience building research teams spanning the academic-private sectors to move important oligo/RNA discoveries and inventions from the laboratory to the bedside to improve patient care and health.


  • Board of Directors, Basking Biosciences Inc
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Rznomics Inc
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Ovid Therapeutics
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