Nanomaterials for Single-Molecule Imaging and Therapy

Date(s) - 02/12/2018
3:00 pm

Andrew M. Smith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Associate Head of Undergraduate Programs, Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This seminar will describe imaging and therapeutic technologies in development in the Smith Lab at the University of Illinois. The imaging technologies focus on quantum dots, which are light-emitting nanocrystals that have been transformative for understanding single-molecule cellular processes and for measuring molecular biomarkers in clinical tissues. The Smith Lab engineers the photophysical and colloidal properties of quantum dots for counting and observing intracellular and plasma membrane proteins in living cells, to absolutely measure disease-associated molecules in clinical biospecimens, and to inform the development of new therapeutic modalities for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and obesity. The therapeutic technologies are based on translational drug-delivery vehicles for diseases related to inflammation, including cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. These nanomaterials selectively target macrophages with extraordinarily high efficiency in inflamed tissues in mouse models of obesity, reaching up to 70% of the total injected dose, increasing the potency of anti-inflammatory therapeutics by 20-fold. This strategy may be widely adopted for the detection and treatment of diseases associated with macrophage-mediated inflammation.


Andrew M. Smith is an assistant professor of bioengineering, materials science & engineering, medicine, and technology entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He joined the UIUC faculty in 2012 and since has been appointed Bioengineering Associate Head and Faculty Entrepreneurial Fellow. Dr. Smith received a B.S. in chemistry and Ph.D. in bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and received postdoctoral training at Emory University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His research interests include nanomaterials engineering, single-molecule imaging, molecular pathology, and new undergraduate and graduate educational practices.