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Darryl J. Bornhop

Title and Contact Information

Professor of Chemistry
Office: 5419 SC
Phone: (615) 322-4226


Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 1987


Analytical Chemistry
Chemical Biology
Bioanalytical Chemistry

In the News

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Research News @ Vanderbilt-Vanderbilt sets record for number of new AAAS fellows



Analytical Chemistry

Our group interests center around multidisciplinary bioanalytical and biomedical research:

  • the application of lasers to nanoscale chemical and biochemical analysis, and the use of micro-fluidics for onchip patterning, high throughput screening, proteomics and point of care analysis.
  • the synthesis, characterization, and application of exogenous markers (particularly multi-modal signaling agents) for early disease detection, diagnosis, and in-vitro assays.

Back Scattering Interferometry ( BSI ) - Our group has developed a unique sensor, the Back Scattering Interferometor ( BSI ) and pioneered its use. This new Technology was reported in Science. For the first time, free-solution, label free detection of the interaction of molecules in a micro-chip format with zeptomole sensitivity is possible.  BSI is ideally suited for measuring molecular interaction kinetics and performing quantitative, end point assays.  The BSI platform  can be used to discover new biomarkers, rapidly develop assays, and run routine / quantitative molecular based  assays in seconds, at picomolar concentrations in either free-solution or surface-bound, label free modes.  The BSI platform consists of a simple optical train employing a helium-neon laser like those used in grocery store scanners, a mirror, a CCD detector like those used in digital cameras and a special microfluidic chip.

Molecular Imaging/Chemical Synthesis - Multiple targets and various approaches to signaling and/or therapeutic intervention are under investigation. A main target of interest is the 18 kD protein, the Peripheral Benzodiazepine Receptor ( PBR ). PBR is found primarily in the mitochondria and is known to be associated with responsiveness to reactive oxygen species, apoptosis and steroidogenesis. PBR expression is upregulated in some cancers, and its density has been correlated with metabolic status of the cell. These observations make PBR an attractive target for the delivery of contrast agents and therapeutics to diseased tissue. Recently we prepared a PBR targeted imaging agent (1) {Eu-PK11195, Figure 1} based on our relatively unique lanthanide chelate chemistry (2). The lanthanides are brightly luminescent, show promise for early cancer detection (3) and can even be used as multi modal agents by simple exchange of the chelated lanthanide ion. In-vitro and in-vivo investigations along with new synthetic methodologies are being developed in our laboratory. Some of these new agents have also demonstrated promise as in-vitro diagnostic stains for use in histopathology. In addition, we are developing near-infrared fluorochromes (4), PET agents, and MR signaling agents that are smart, can precipitate selectively or can provide both a signature and a therapeutic effect. Also under intense investigation are the unique spectroscopic properties of the lanthanide chelates.

Selected Publications

Samuelson LE, Scherer RL, VanSaun MN, Fan KH, Dozier EA, Carter KJ, Koyama T, Shyr Y, Aschner M, Stanwood GD, Bornhop DJ, Matrisian LM, McIntyre JO.New tools for the quantitative assessment of prodrug delivery and neurotoxicity.Neurotoxicology. 2015, 47:88-98. [Epub ahead of print]

Saetear P, Perrin AJ, Bartholdson SJ, Wanaguru M, Kussrow A, Bornhop DJ, Wright GJ. Quantification of Plasmodium-host protein interactions on intact, unmodified erythrocytes by back-scattering interferometry.   Malaria Journal. 2015 (1):553

Samuelson LE, Scherer RL, VanSaun MN, Fan KH, Dozier EA, Carter KJ, Koyama T, Shyr Y, Aschner M, Stanwood GD, Bornhop DJ, Matrisian LM, McIntyre JO.New tools for the quantitative assessment of prodrug delivery and neurotoxicity . Neurotoxicology. 2015, 47:88-98.

Kammer MN, Olmsted IR, Kussrow AK, Morris MJ, Jackson GW, Bornhop DJ.Characterizing aptamer small molecule interactions with backscattering interferometry. The Analyst. 2014, 139(22):5879-84.

Olmsted IR, Hassanein M, Kussrow A, Hoeksema M, Li M, Massion PP, Bornhop DJ.Toward rapid, high-sensitivity, volume-constrained biomarker quantification and validation using backscattering interferometry. Analytical Chemistry. 2014, (15):7566-74.

Samuelson, L. E., Anderson, B. M., Bai, M. F., Dukes, M. J., Hunt, C. R., Casey, J. D., Han, Z. Q., Papadopoulos, V., Bornhop, D. A self-internalizing mitochondrial TSPO targeting imaging probe for fluorescence, MRI and EM. RSC Advances. 2014, 4 (18): 9003-9011.

Adams, N. M., Olmsted, I. R., Haselton, F. R., Bornhop, D. J., Wright, D. W. The effect of hybridization-induced secondary structure alterations on RNA detection using backscattering interferometry. Nucleic Acids Research. 2013, 41 (9): e103.

Bai, M. F., Bornhop, D. J. Recent Advances in Receptor-Targeted Fluorescent Probes for In Vivo Cancer Imaging. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 2012, 19 (28): 4742-4758.

Haddad, G. L., Young, S. C., Heindel, N. D., Bornhop, D. J., Flowers, R. A. Back-Scattering Interferometry: An Ultrasensitive Method for the Unperturbed Detection of Acetylcholinesterase-Inhibitor Interactions. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition. 2012, 51 (44): 11126-11130.

Wyatt, S. K., Manning, H. C., Bai, M. F., Ehtesham, M., Mapara, K. Y., Thompson, R. C., Bornhop, D. J. Preclinical Molecular Imaging of the Translocator Protein (TSPO) in a Metastases Model Based on Breast Cancer Xenografts Propagated in the Murine Brain. Current Molecular Medicine. 2012, 12 (4): 458-466.

Kussrow, A., Enders, C. S., Bornhop, D. J. Interferometric Methods for Label-Free Molecular Interaction Studies. Analytical Chemistry. 2012, 84 (2): 779-792.

Olmsted, I. R., Xiano, Y., Cho, M., Csordas, A. T., Sheehan, J. H., Meiler, J.,Soh, H. T. Measurement of Aptamer-Protein Interactions with Back-Scattering Interferometry. Analytical Chemistry. 2011, 83 (23): 8867-8870.

Lau, J. L., Baksh, M. M., Fiedler, J. D., Brown, S. D., Kussrow, A., Bornhop, D. J., Ordoukhanian, P., Finn, M. G. Evolution and Protein Packaging of Small-Molecule RNA Aptamers. ACS NANO. 2011, 5 (10): 7722-7729.

Baksh, M. M., Kussrow, A. K., Mileni, M., Finn, M. G. Label-free quantification of membrane-ligand interactions using backscattering interferometry. Nature Biotechnology. 2011, 29 (4): 357-U173.

Luke, Z., Moss, F., Loukachevitch, L. V., Bornhop, D. J. , Wagner, C. Histone Demethylase LSD1 Is a Folate-Binding Protein. Biochemistry. 2011, 50 (21): 4750-4756.

Sexton, M., Woodruff, G., Horne, E. A., Lin, Y. H., Muccioli, G. G., Bai, M. F., Stern, E., Bornhop, D. J., Stella, N. NIR-mbc94, a Fluorescent Ligand that Binds to Endogenous CB(2) Receptors and Is Amenable to High-Throughput Screening. Chemistry & Biology. 2011, 18 (5): 563-568.