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Research interests

Traditionally, I have been working on molecular and cellular mechanisms contributing to the initiation and progression of acute and chronic kidney disease. Once mechanisms were identified, treatment options were devised and tested for efficacy in mouse models of renal fibrosis. For the past twelve years I have been in collaboration with Srikanth Singamaneni in the Department of Materials Science on the Danforth campus. We are developing sensitive and specific gold nanoparticle-based approaches to identify and quantitate biomarkers of a wide variety of diseases that are informative in the diagnosis of the relevant disease, particularly infectious and kidney diseases. Additional studies center on the development of plasmonic-flours to amplify fluorescence-based assays. This technology increases the sensitivity of the assays about a 1000-fold. We have combined plasmonic-fluors with microneedle patches to assay for biomarkers of health and disease in dermal interstitial fluid as a means of reducing frequent blood collection, especially in pediatric patients. The increased sensitivity and dynamic range due to the use of plasmonic-fluors combined with lateral flow assay methodology allows rapid (about 15-20 minute) assay of biomarkers in biologic fluids (blood, urine, saliva) speeding up time to results for patients in emergency and intensive care settings. Finally, another technology developed in our lab uses metal-organic frameworks (MOF) to enable preservation of biospecimens without the need for refrigeration for later reconstitution and analysis at established clinical laboratories. The MOF methodology will allow medical clinics to evaluate patient biospecimens in underserved regions of the United States and other countries. This technology can also preserve biomarkers in various biofluids without refrigeration as a means of subverting effects of climate change on biospecimen transportation and storage.


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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