Methods for the analysis of biomolecular markers of health and disease are in high demand. There is ongoing need for measurements that are more sensitive, more selective, faster, richer in information, and more accessible. This presentation will give an overview of some of our research toward advanced fluorescent materials that push bioanalysis and imaging in these directions.
Materials of interest include semiconductor quantum dots (QDs), supra- and super-nanoparticle assemblies of QDs, semiconducting polymer dots (Pdots), and lanthanide complexes. Our unique approaches to the preparation of these materials, their (macro)molecular functionalization, bioconjugation, and characterization will be described alongside examples of applications for these materials.
One set of examples will focus on how tuning of QD surface chemistry promotes enhancements in the sensitivity and selectivity of sensors for protease activity, and provides new opportunities for “smell-like” profiling of protease activity. A second set of examples will show how we are addressing a growing challenge in bioanalysis: Technologies continue to advance, but often with cost and complexity that makes them less and less accessible. In response, we have designed fluorescent materials that enable molecular assays and cellular analysis on simply-engineered smartphone-based devices.
Overall, our research program is creating new tools and strategies for advancing biological and biomedical research, and for supporting next-generation health care that is more equitable and inclusive.