The University of Texas at Austin
United States of America
Our research is focused on creating and studying new nanomaterials that have the potential to be used as future molecular probes with unprecedented sensing capabilities, and developing new imaging tools for fundamental biology research at the single-molecule, single-cell level. Although we are in the post-genome era, we still face many unsolved questions in functional genomics and cellular signaling network. This is mainly due to the fact that we are ill-equipped with research tools to elucidate the sophisticated genetic processing and signaling mechanisms that are often obscured by cellular heterogeneity and the stochastic nature of molecular processes. Among all the tools that are currently being developed, it is increasingly evident that probes with superior specificity and sensitivity and instruments with single-molecule addressing capability are critical to characterize and understand this inherent variability in biological systems. Nanotechnology and single-molecule detection hold great promise for future quantitative biology. Along these lines, we are currently exploring few-atom, fluorescent gold or silver nanoclusters. Providing the missing link between atomic and nanoparticle behavior in noble metals, gold and silver nanoclusters have shown many exciting photonic properties, offering great promise for imaging of complex biological systems as a new class of biolabels. We are also building a 3D molecular tracking microscope to investigate the transport dynamics of endocytosed macromolecules, mRNA, and proteins inside a live cell. The mission of our group is to integrate molecular sensing and imaging techniques in solving issues in disease diagnosis and treatment.
Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentation