The primary research interest of our group is to develop and integrate nanotechnology and chemical biology to modulate signaling pathways in cancer and stem cells. More specifically, our research focuses on identifying the various microenvironmental cues (e.g. soluble signals, cell-cell interactions, and insoluble/physical signals) affecting stem cell and cancer cell fate and thereafter utilizing these cues for the neuro-differentiation of stem cells and apoptosis of brain tumor cells. In addition, our group is also developing novel nanomaterials for applications such as cancer therapy, molecular imaging and bio-sensing.
Work is in progress in the following research areas:
- Designing and synthesizing multifunctional nanoparticles FOR the intracellular delivery of soluble cues into cancer and stem cells
- Surface chemistry-based approach for understanding the functions of physical cues on stem cell differentiation
- Developing novel nano-biosensors to detect bio-molecular interactions
- Elucidating the interactions between cells and their dynamic microenvironment using microfluidics
Over the next several years we will work towards the novel design of nanomaterials, and 3D-ECM platforms, which can be responsive to external signals (e.g. light, pH, and enzymes), while leveraging our expertise to expand into several new directions. Researchers in our laboratory come from various disciplines with backgrounds in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, polymer science, physics, cell biology, chemical engineering and biomedical engineering.