We are developing methods, technology, and theories to enable the efficient detection, characterization, and identification of biological molecules. Our focus is primarily on addressing next generation health care applications using advanced single-molecule detection techniques. Recent efforts are directed to the identification of RNA and proteins at low copy number, and the physical characterization of metallo-nanoparticles at low concentration. Realization of these new measurement tools could prove useful for personalized medicine applications, early cancer detection, and developing drugs against infectious bacteria and other forms of disease.
Every person is unique, and that holds true for how each of us respond to therapeutic drugs. Pharmaceutical and health care industries currently lack measurement tools to determine whether such treatments will be effective, harm or even cause the death of individual patients. To help address this issue in part, we pioneered and developed an electronic nanopore-based method for single molecule metrology. The technology is currently being used to sequence DNA at the single molecule limit, and will hopefully prove useful to rapidly identify thousands of different proteins in blood. In addition to aiding the next generation of personalized health care applications, these methods should also provide insight into fundamental cellular properties, which could lead to understanding the molecular basis of disease.
We also seek to help resolve a long-outstanding problem of determining the structures of membrane proteins, which is crucial for the cost-efficient development of pharmaceutical therapeutic agents.