Photoacoustic Molecular Imaging and Nanoparticle Contrast Agent Design

Date(s) - 11/21/2011
11:35 am - 12:35 pm

Dr. Carolyn Bayer, Postdoctoral Fellow in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin

High resolution images of the molecular changes induced by the treatment of cancerous tumors could provide critical information about efficacy of therapies in vivo. We have developed an approach based on the photoacoustic signals from targeted silica-coated gold nanorods to concurrently and non-invasively image multiple cell receptors over-expressed in specific breast cancer tumor types. Optically absorbing gold nanorods have been designed to provide optimal photoacoustic contrast and cellular specificity through monoclonal antibody targeting. Photoacoustic imaging of the targeted silica-coated gold nanorods produces images with a resolution limit in the hundreds of microns range, at depths up to 3-5 centimeters. Since photoacoustic imaging, combined with multifunctional nanoparticle contrast agents, is non-invasive and uses non-ionizing radiation, it is an ideal technique to use to longitudinally study treatment response in vivo.

Carolyn Bayer is currently a National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Postdoctoral Fellow (F32), under the sponsorship of Stanislav Emelianov and Kostia Sokolov at The University of Texas at Austin.  Her research develops biomolecular detection and diagnostics methods utilizing nano- and molecular-scale imaging principles. Her graduate studies in biomedical engineering, completed in the laboratory of Nicholas Peppas at The University of Texas at Austin in 2009, explored the biosensing properties of conductive and molecularly recognitive hydrogels.  Her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, received in 1998 from Case Western Reserve University, led to seven years of medical microdevice and drug discovery corporate experience as a senior engineer.