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  • POC Assays

    POC biochemical assays are characteristic of portability and automatization, and the analysis of the readout results does not require skilled technician. Therefore, these formats are promising tools for rapid diagnosis and on-site assessment of diseases particularly in resource-limited settings. We are interested in creating gold nanoparticle-based POC assays because of their distinct physical and optical properties, such as localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), and surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). These unique properties may provide solutions to the limitations (e.g., moderate detection sensitivity and throughout) of most currently-used POC systems such as diabetic glucose meters and home pregnancy tests.
  • High-Sensitivity Multiplex Assays

    For many diseases such as cancer, metabolic diseases, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, the biomarker levels at the early stages of the diseases are generally below the critical threshold concentrations, at which point the biomarkers are often undetectable by means of current platforms. The high-sensitivity sensors make it possible for early diagnosis of the diseases as well as monitoring recurrence of the diseases after treatment. In this section, we aim at developing high-sensitivity assays by taking advantage of the unique properties of plasmonic surfaces as well as those combined with other signal amplification strategies. More importantly, we would like to develop high-sensitivity multiplex assays, by which very few amounts of diverse biomarkers can be determined simultaneously. We believe these assays are promising for use in early diagnosis and monitoring the disease progression after treatment.
  • Plasmonic Bioimaging Probes

    In addition to in vitro diagnostic assays, in vivo bioimaging platforms play crucial roles in clinical diagnostics because they can report the tiny changes of lesions in situ. However, the currently used platforms are facing several drawbacks such as low sensitivity, low spatial resolution, high cost, and biosafety, etc. We are interested in creating plasmonic optical bioimaging probes. These plasmonic probes are usually smart since they can recognize target tissues and light up their positions by reacting with the endogenous species (e.g., low pH value, over-expressed enzymes). Specifically, we are interested in creating multiplex SERS bioimaging systems owing to the distinct properties of SERS, such as unmatched detection sensitivity, fingerprinting capabilities, and not being susceptible to photo-bleaching. The integration of in vitro diagnotic assays with in vivo bioimaging probes could help physicians make timely clinical decisions and reduce the healthcare costs and patient stress.