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Letha J. Sooter, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
West Virginia University
P.O. Box 9530
Morgantown, WV 26506-9530

Phone: (304)293.9218
Fax: (304)293.2576
E-Mail: lsooter@hsc.wvu.edu
Link to Full CV - PDF

Dr. Sooter's lab (page under construction)
Letha Sooter, PhD.


Dr. Letha J. Sooter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy. She is also adjunct faculty in the Chemistry Department and a member of the WVNano Initiative. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. Her first postdoctoral position was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in yeast display selections. Her second postdoctoral position was at the United States Army Research Laboratory in optics and detection.
The Sooter Lab has two central research themes: in vitro selections and nanomaterials. 
The goal of an in vitro selection is to isolate a molecular recognition element, a piece of DNA or protein that binds a target very tightly and specifically. The selection process is much like playing the lottery. If you want to be certain you have the one winning ticket, you buy all of the tickets. Similarly, we begin with a library of billions of different pieces of DNA or protein so that we can find the one that binds our target. These molecular recognition elements can be used to detect the presence of explosives or prostate cancer. They can also be used for targeted drug delivery to cancer cells. 
Nanomaterials have amazing properties and are incorporated into many commercial products. While the body of literature is growing, we still have many questions about nanotube toxicity. Under what circumstances are nanomaterials toxic, slightly toxic, or completely safe? The nanomaterials that are safe may then be combined with molecular recognition elements and applied to diagnostic and therapeutic problems.


Post-doctoral Training
Oak Ridge Associated Universities Postdoctoral Fellow at the United States Army Research Laboratory, Sensors and Electronic Devices Directorate, Optics Branch

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Graduate Training
The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Austin, Texas
Undergraduate Training
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas  (majors: biochemistry and genetics, minor: chemistry)

Research Interests:

Dr. Sooter’s laboratory has two central themes: in vitro selection and nanomaterials. The applications oriented research uses multidisciplinary approaches to achieve therapeutic and diagnostic outcomes.
SPION-Aptamers As The Working Element To Sense Environmental Contaminants, co-investigator (WVNano / NSF)

CITeR Codesign Initiative, co-investigator (DoJ)
Recent (not listed above)
eNose, co-principal investigator (WVU Neuroscience COBRe Award)

Detection of chemical, biological, and explosive warfare agents, principal investigator (DoD)

Broadly selective aptamers for environmental sensing, co-investigator (WVNano / NSF)

Research Techniques

Human cell culture
PCR, agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
Absorbance and fluorescence spectrophotometry
Radioligand assays
Recent Publications
Langan, T. J., Nyakubaya, V. T., Casto, L. D., Dolan, T. D., Archer-Hartmann, S. A., Yedlapalli, S. L., Sooter, L., Holland, L. A. Assessment of Aptamer-Steroid Binding Using Stacking Enhanced Capillary Electrophoresis.Electrophoresis/WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/%28ISSN%291522-2683
Sooter, L., Stratis-Cullum, D. N., Zhang, Y., Rice, J. J., Ballew, J. T., Soh, H. T., Daugherty, P. S., Pellegrino, P., Stagliano, N. (2010). Hand Held Biowarfare Assays. In R. Nagarajan, Walter Zukas, T. Alan Hatton, Stephen Lee (Ed.), ACS Symposium Series: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense (vol. 1016, pp. 73-83). Washington, D.C.: Oxford University Press. pubs.acs.org/isbn/9780841269811
Jourdan T. Aromin, Bridget D. Hines, Letha J. Sooter. Tuning Single‑Walled Carbon Nanotube Fluorescence Emission via Associated DNASequence. Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review, Volume 2, Spring 2010. Peer Reviewed.
Letha J. Sooter, Dimitra N. Stratis-Cullum, Yanting Zhang, Patrick Daugherty, H. Tom Soh, Paul M. Pellegrino, Nancy Stagliano. Affinity reagent technology development and application to rapid immunochromatographic pathogen detection. Proceedings of SPIE: Smart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology V. SPIE paper number 6759-10.
Letha J. Sooter, Sun McMasters, and Dimitra N. Stratis-Cullum. Application of capillary electrophoresis to the development and evaluation of aptamer affinity probes. Proceedings of SPIE: Smart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology V. SPIE paper number 6759-31.
Stratis-Cullum, D.N.; McMasters, S.; Sooter, L.J.; Pellegrino, P.M. Investigation of Synthetic Molecular Recognition for Biosensing Applications. Proceedings of SPIE: Chemical and Biological Sensing VIII. 2007, v6554.
Belcher, A.M.; Sooter, L.J.; Wittrup, K.D. Detection of Cracks in Metal Alloys Using Fluorescent Peptides. 2006. Invention disclosure, M.I.T. Case No. 12312.
Sooter, L.J.; Gates-Shannon, P.; Ellington, A.D. Automated assessment the DNA-binding capacity of a proteome by in vitro selection. Journal of the Association for Laboratory Automation. 2007, 12(3), 135-142.
Sooter, L.J.; Ellington, A.D. Automated Selection of Transcription Factor Binding Sites. Journal of the Association for Laboratory Automation. 2004, 9(5), 277-284.
Sooter, L.J.; Ellington, A.D. Reflections on a Novel Therapeutic Candidate. Chemistry & Biology. 2002, 9(8), 857-858.
Cox, J.C.; Rajendran, M.; Riedel, T.; Davidson, E.A.; Sooter, L.J.; Bayer, T.S.; Schmitz-Brown, M.; Ellington, A.D. Automated acquisition of aptamer sequences. Combinatorial Chemistry and High Throughput Screening. 2002, 5(4), 289-299.
Sooter, L.J.; Riedel, T.; Davidson, E.A.; Levy, M.; Cox, J.C.; Ellington, A.D. Toward automated nucleic acid enzyme selection. Biological Chemistry. 2001, 382(9), 1327-1334.
Sooter, L.J.Purification of Carbon Nanotubes. United States Army Docket Number ARL 08-14. Patent application number 12/571,098. Earliest Publication No: US 20100105880 A1. 2010.
Sooter, L.J.Quantum Dot Biotags. United States Army Docket Number ARL 08-13. Patent application number  12/571,004. Earliest Publication No: US 20100105089 A1. 2010.
Ellington, A.D.; Hesselberth, J.; Marshall, K.; Robertson, M.; Sooter, L.; Davidson, E.; Cox, J.C.; Reidel, T.; Wilson, C.; Cload, S.T.; Keefe, A.D. Regulatable, catalytically active nucleic acids. United States Patent Application Number 20040126882. Royalty received.
Ellington, A.D.; Hesselberth, J.; Marshall, K.; Robertson, M.; Sooter, L.; Davidson, E.; Cox, J.C.; Reidel, T. Allosterically Regulated Ribozymes. Intellectual Property Publication Number: WO/2001/096541.
Ellington, Andrew D.; Hesselberth, Jay; Marshall, Kristin A.; Robertson, Michael P.;Sooter, Letha; Davidson, Eric; Cox, J. Colin; Reidel, Timothy. Regulatable, catalytically active nucleic acids. United States Patent Application Number US20030104520.
PHAR 731: 6 pharmacogenomics lectures beginning Fall 2012
PHAR 779: 3 lectures
PHAR 793T: SPTP: Molecular Recognition Elements and Nanosensors

BIOL 486: Undergraduate Research
ENGR 103/ PHYS 293K: Introduction to Nanotechnology and Design
Professional Memberships
Society of Women Engineers. (August 12, 2008 - Present)
American Association for University Women. (2008 - Present)
Society for Biological Engineering. (2003 - Present)
Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening. (2003 - Present)
The American Chemical Society. (2003 - Present)
The American Institute for Chemical Engineers. (2003 - Present)
Materials Research Society (2008, 2010-Present)