Nanobio and nanoscale optics
In the optical imaging lab, we leverage nanotechnology to create contrast in otherwise non-specific images. Metal, particularly gold, nanoparticles are attractive optical contrast agents because of their well-defined and tunable absorption bands. We exploit the high absorption efficiency of these particles to heat a nanoscale volume in our sample. Using light interference (specifically optical coherence tomography), we can precisely detect these heated voxels to locate a target within a sample.
Current research in the lab is investigating multi-modality imaging for optical and MRI contrast with several candidate nanoparticles. Surface-functionalization of these particles allows us to identify specific molecules in biological models of cancer ranging from cell culture to animal models. We ultimately use the information in these images to determine resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies in cancer.