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"Engineering Platforms for Cellular and Molecular Processes" Seminar Series


Dr. Andre Gobin - Sept 23 2009

Abstract: Cancer represents a significant health problem incurring tremendous cost in treatment, diagnosis and loss to the economy. Nanotechnology holds great promise for the treatment of diseases including many forms of cancer. There have been advances in formulation of gold nanoparticles with strong surface plasmon resonance which lead to absorption or scattering of light energy. These particles have been used to demonstrate tumor ablation when coupled with near infrared light sources. The tunability of these nanoparticles makes them ideal for a variety of photothermal applications in medicine. In addition, the ability to conjugate molecules to the surface of the gold has allow the development of immuno-assays and targeting schemes to demonstrate specificity for certain types of tumor cells, including prostate and breast cancer.

This seminar will discuss some of the work done to develop gold nanoshells into a therapeutic agent. Nanoshells are a class of optically active nanoparticles with tunable optical properties and consist of non-conducting silica core and ultrathin gold shell. Nanoshells offer the ability to manipulate both the resonant wavelength and the relative scattering and absorption efficiencies through the size and composition of each layer of the nanoshell structure. These particles can be designed and produced with high absorbing efficiencies in the near infrared (NIR) wavelength region (~650-950nm), a region noted for high transmissivity and low absorption by native chromophores in tissue. I will discuss my previous work which focused on 1) simultaneous imaging and therapy with a single particle 2) improving cancer therapy by targeting gold coated silica nanoshells to prostate cancer using antibodies and other smaller ligands, and 3) development of smaller more highly absorbing gold coated gold-sulfide nanoparticle for advanced cancer therapy. Finally, I will address some of the issues we are exploring to expand this technology in research here at the University of Louisville, including scaleup and novel coatings to develop a nanotherapeutic platform for drug delivery and imaging and our current work on treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Biography:  Dr. André Gobin has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Louisville since October 2007. He has a B.S from Cornell University and completed his PhD at Rice University where he worked on the application of near infrared absorbing nanoparticles for use as a cancer therapeutic agent. Dr. Gobin has 10 years industrial experience including commercial development and technical services. At the University of Louisville he has been building his research program in the area of multifunctional nanotherapeutic agents using gold nanoparticles. He has successfully secured external funding from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, receiving the prestigious Early Career Award for Translational Research in Biomedical Engineering in 2008. Dr. Gobin is the coordinator for the Senior Capstone Design course and teaches a course on Molecular Bioengineering in the Bioengineering Department at the University of Louisville.



Dr. Mehdi Yazdanpanah - March 3, 2010

Abstract: Liquid gallium (Ga) spontaneously alloys with metal (e.g. Ag, Co, Pt) thin films at near or even below room temperature resulting in rapid self-assembly of nanostructures (e.g. Ag2Ga needles, CoGa3 rods, and Ga6Pt plates). The Ag2Ga needles orient nearly vertical to the interface which suggests that an individual needle can be directed to grow in a desired direction by drawing a silver- coated surface from the Ga droplet. Very flexible and rugged Ag2Ga nanoneedles of constant diameter (sub 100 nm diameter, 7-70 microns long) can be securely grown onto AFM tips at room temperature. These nanoneedles are electrically conductive and have stiffness well matched to viscoelastic properties of complex fluids and biological materials. We are in the process of using this technology as platform to enable a combined intracellular electrochemical plus viscoelastic cell-to- electronics interface for real-time biological sensing of the cell, biofilms and their microenvironment. This talk specifically presents progress towards such platform by demonstrating the abilities of the needles to (1) make precise AFM measurements of surface tension, contact angle, evaporation rate, and shear viscosity of polymeric liquids, (2) draw polymer nanofibers of controlled lengths and widths as a combined function of surface tension, viscosity and evaporation rate, (3) measure complex viscoelastic properties of cell membranes and organelles of blood and endothelial cells, (4) capture and be surrounded by single live endothelial cells within a few seconds, (5) polymerize and detect the growth of long fibrin nanofibers polymerizing on the end of a 100 nm diameter needle.

Biography: Mehdi M. Yazdanpanah is the CEO-Founder of NaugaNeedles LLC and Entrepreneurial Fellow of Kauffman foundation. He holds a PhD degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville (2006), where he studied room temperature self-assembly of metal alloy nanostructures. During his doctoral studies, Mehdi co-invented a procedure to selectively grow nanoneedles on AFM tips. This invention became the basis to establish NaugaNeedles in 2007. He also holds a BS degree in physics from Sharif University of Technology (1998) and MS degree in physics from Beheshti University (2001), where he designed and fabricated a scanning tunneling microscope (STM).

Mehdi is the author of more than twenty peer-reviewed journal and conference proceeding papers and the co-inventor of three pending US patents. He received the 2008 Vogt Innovation Award and was chosen as one of 13 entrepreneurial fellow of Kauffman Foundation in 2009. Under Mehdi's leadership, NaugaNeedles has achieved tremendous milestones including: wining SBIR and STTR from NSF and NIH and establishing the NaugaNeedles' manufacturing facility. NaugaNeedles has already sold its products to more than 75 customers worldwide, and expect to expand its customer base significantly in near future.

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