– Combining Fluorescent Quantum Dots with Biology –
Department – Chemistry and Biochemistry (Graduate Student)
Research Field – Biochemistry
How image was captured – Fluorescence Microscopy
Research Impact & Significance – The unique chemical, optical and physical properties of inorganic nanocrystals have generated a tremendous interest for using them to develop a variety of applications, ranging from electronic devices to novel probes in biology. Recent advancements in synthesis of biocompatible nanocrystals present a very promising platform for molecular imaging, sensing and diagnostic tools as well as cellular delivery vehicles. A crucial criterion to successfully employ these systems in biology relies on effective means to promote their intracellular uptake encompassing ubiquitous endocytosis. A variety of techniques have been explored to deliver nanoparticles into the cytosol. Nevertheless, most of the approaches tend to sequester nanoparticles in endocytic vesicles. This prevents them from reaching intracellular targets, thus limiting their applications in biology. We are currently working to optimize methods for controlled delivery of nanoparticles directly inside cells avoiding the endocytic pathway. This research might open the possibility to engineer and functionalize nanoparticles with targeting molecules and therapeutic drugs for efficient cellular targeting and improved bio-applications.