Our lab is interested in imaging and therapy of cancer using metallic and polymeric nanoparticles. Cancer progresses quietly and can proliferate and metastasize quickly. Therefore detection of cancer at early stages of development, coupled with early intervention, is crucial for survival. However the current clinical imaging methods and treatments are still not sufficient to overcome the major challenges on the road to a cure. Treatment at the cellular level with the use of nanotechnology represents an important alternative to current methods. For example, the development of imaging-capable nanoparticles and their combined use for noninvasive imaging andmolecular therapy has now opened up numerous possibilities in a variety of biomedical applications. Our research focuses on the synthesis and use of theranostic nanomaterials to prevent and image disease progression. The physical properties of nanoparticles provide imaging capability and siRNA/anti-miRNA synthetic oligonucleotides attached on the nanoparticle surface provide therapeutic response.
Tissue imaging with magnetic nanoparticles
Our lab is interested in engineering bio-molecular and chemical sensors using DNA/RNA aptamer and nanoparticle conjugates. Gold and magnetic nanoparticles can be functionalized with target recognition elements and used as sensors for different materials. When bound to target molecules these nanoparticles assemble/disassembe and alter their physical states which can be visualized by naked eye or by MRI. We are interested in using aptamers as target recognition elements. Aptamers are single-stranded DNA or RNA molecules that can bind a variety of chemical and biological molecules with high affinity and selectivity. Aptamer conjugated nanoparticles are therefore used as sensors for different biological and chemical molecules.
Magnetic nanoparticles as smart MRI contrast agents