The overall objective of this laboratory is to develop novel molecular imaging probes and techniques for non-invasive detection of cancer and its metastasis at the earliest stage, so that cancer can be cured or transformed into a chronic, manageable disease. The techniques developed in my research will allow a close examination of the molecular, metabolic and physiological characteristics of cancers and their responses to therapy. In order to achieve this goal, my lab is aimed to identify novel cancer biomarkers with significant clinical relevance, develop new chemistry for probes preparation, and validate new strategies for probes high-throughput screening.
This laboratory is currently focusing on three major areas of research: 1) rapid detection and imaging of bacterial infection, especially antibiotics-resistant bacteria and mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), 2) understanding and imaging tumor response to treatment, and 3) imaging-guided tumor resection. Towards these goals, we are developing new molecular probes and imaging strategies to image and interrogate a broad range of molecular targets, from enzymes like hydrolases (beta-lactamases), proteases (such as caspases and MMPs), DNA polymerases (PARP-1), to reactive oxygen species (ROS). We also exploring nanoparticles and developing nanotechnologies in order to improve the sensitivity and specificity of detection and imaging. Through innovation in probe chemistry and nanotechnology, we strive to provide new solutions to these important problems in global health, cancer biology and therapy.
This laboratory aims to build imaging instrumentation and chemical tools that can visualize the complex behavior of biomolecules in living subjects. The expression patterns of many biomolecules (e.g.: signaling factors and posttranslational modifications) changes in time, space and local environments. Understanding these changes in the context of living tissues may give rise to new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, and can further reveal new molecular mechanisms not otherwise visible in traditional biochemical studies. We have pioneered Photoacoustic molecular imaging and are actively developing new optical imaging instrumentation to visualize these complex behaviors in cancer and ophthalmic disease animal models. Our research efforts span both basic science and clinically translatable work.
The mission of this laboratory is to understand both the mechanisms of disease (cancer, infection and genetic diseases), and the complex genetic programs of mammalian development and stem cell biology. We monitor these processes noninvasively as they occur in living animals. The methods developed and used by our group can simultaneously reveal the nuances and the overall picture of cellular and molecular processes in animal models. Using these approaches, we can rapidly assess the effects of antineoplastic therapies, antibiotics or antiviral drugs, revealing possible modes of action. These strategies result in significantly more information than can be obtained using a vivisectionist approach in that the animals are living and the data is obtained in real-time. One of our scientific goals is to develop tools that make the body essentially transparent for scientific discovery, and to use these tools to understand how pathogens cause disease and how the host organism responds to these pathogens, as well as how the immune system monitors cell transformation in cancer, and the regulatory networks that control cell migration and development.
Our laboratory focuses on the design and discovery of synthetic and natural product inspired small molecules which can be used as probes to understand biological phenomena, including protein-protein interactions and modulation of signal transduction pathways. We employ the tools of synthetic & medicinal chemistry, molecular modeling and chemical biology for translational research in drug discovery, development, imaging and radiation. Our current projects include design of new scaffolds/molecules as chemical tools to study various solid tumors; Alzheimer and markers for screening of hypoxic metabolically active cells.
This laboratory focuses on advancing radiopharmaceutical sciences for the expanding field of molecular imaging. We design and synthesize novel radioligands/radiotracers that bind to molecular targets related to specific nervous system (central and peripheral) disorders and cancer biology. In addition, new radiolabeling techniques and methodologies will be created in our lab for emerging radiopharmaceutical development as well as for the general radiochemistry community. These radiochemistry approaches will be coupled with innovative chemical engineering to further investigate new molecular imaging strategies. Successful imaging agents will also be extended towards future human clinical applications.