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"Carbon Nanotube-Based Optical Bioanalytical Sensors"
Daniel A. Heller, PhD
Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Real-time, spatially resolved detection and identification of analytes in biological media present important goals for next-generation sensors. To this end, the intrinsic near-infrared fluorescence of single-walled carbon nanotubes can be modulated by changes in their immediate environment. Encapsulation of nanotubes in synthetic polymers and biopolymers creates a handle for the transduction of analyte binding. Small molecules such as reactive oxygen species and other genotoxins can be detected by transduction of the binding event to the polymer or the nanotube itself. Nitroaromatic compounds, such as explosives and pesticides, have been detected by the conformational change of a peptide upon its binding to the analyte. In these cases, small molecule analyte identification is possible by observing variations in the nanotube’s spectral response, resulting in distinct optical fingerprints. Nanotube emission can undergo both wavelength and intensity modulation, permitting the identification of analytes which are difficult to differentiate via conventional methods. The analyte responses can be spatially mapped in live cells and tissues, measured with sensitivity down to the single-molecule level, and detected in real-time, facilitating new and unprecedented biological measurements.
Daniel Heller is an Assistant Member in the Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program and Nanotechnology Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was a Damon Runyon Fellow in Robert S. Langer’s laboratory at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT from 2010-2012. He obtained a BA in history from Rice University in 2000 and a PhD in chemistry with Prof. Michael Strano from the University of Illinois in 2010. His work centers on nanoscale tools for detecting and treating human diseases.