Our group includes students of analytical chemistry, biomedical engineering, physical chemistry, chemical biology, materials chemistry, biophysics and applied physics. The problems range from the theoretical, such as stochastic formalisms and supercomputer simulations related to the patterns of reaction fronts in capillaries, to the applied, such as intracellular biochemical and biophysical nano-sensors, energy transducer supermolecules (artificial photosynthetic antenna), and chemical measurements in brain cells, in collaboration with researchers from Neurotoxicology and the Medical School. The most recent work involves novel molecular nano-devices for the early detection and therapy of cancer, based on relativistic quantum mechanics on one hand and collaboration with drug companies on the other hand.
Our lab has produced the world's smallest light sources, the smallest voltmeters and viscometers, and the smallest and fastest chemical sensors. This enables optical, spectral, electrical, mechanical and chemical imaging on a nanometer scale. Novel fiber-optic and nano-sphere biosensors (for pH, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, chloride, nitrite, nitric oxide, glucose, oxygen and singlet oxygen) reduce the sample volume and detection limit a billion-fold, and simultaneously the response time by a factor of a thousand. These sensors have been used to monitor biological processes, e.g., organogenesis in live rat-embryos, as well as pathogenic processes due to chemical pollution or poisons. Investigations are also performed on the primary chemical processes inside single neuron and cancer cells. Our recent molecularly targeted in-vivo nano-devices detect (with MRI) and kill (photo-dynamically) tumor cells. These virus-sized devices, made of multifunctional nanoparticles, have been demonstrated to diagnose and even cure human brain cancer transplanted into rats.