UPDATE! Forensic chemisty component: Our lab is also interested in colorimetric detection of DNA fragments using nanomaterials for forensic applications.

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

                        Accumulation of imaging-capable magnetic nanoparticles in cancerous tissue in the lymph nodes

Cancer nanomedicine

                                                                            Nanoparticles are engineered with therapeutic materials and imaging agents.
                                                                            Nanoparticles with therapeutic and diagnosis properties (nanodrug) are used
                                                                            for fighting and imaging metastasis in mice with human breast cancer xenograft

Our lab is interested in development of activatable graphene nano devices for oncomiR detection and silencing. We are interested in constructing activatable biosensors using smart thermo-responsive polymers and two-dimensional nano-sheets. Our ultimate goal is to  control the function of graphene nano-assemblies to activate the detection of the target molecules, or delivery and release of the therapeutic cargo, to the tissue of interest only when spatial/temporal activity is needed.

Our lab is interested in construction of graphene based diagnostic tools for prostate and breast cancer. Our goal is to detect several endogenous oncomiRs simultaneously from various human biological fluids using a nanotechnology platform. This enables us to perform not only disease diagnosis but also the identification of disease stages –early, advanced, metastatic and nonmetastatic- of many types cancer.

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

                                                                             DNA/RNA functionalized magnetic nanoparticles assemble when a target molecule
                                                                             is recognized. Such recognition changes the magnetic relaxation state which can
                                                                             be detected and imaged by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Gold nanoparticles as colorimetric biosensors

                                                                              Gold nanoparticles alter their Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) properties when 
                                                                              assembled. This is observed as a color shift from red to blue in solution. Functional 
                                                                              DNA/RNA conjugated gold nanoparticles can be engineered as colorimetric real-time