Our research interest lies in the investigation and application of molecular excited states and their reactions for medical imaging and clinical treatment. Excited states are the cornerstone of a variety of chemical, physical, and biological phenomena. The ability to probe, investigate, and control excited states is one of the largest achievements of modern science. Our lab focuses on the investigation and application of excited states of endogenous and exogenous chromophores, small molecules and nanoparticles in the spectral range from UV to far near-infrared and the development of optical instrumentation for spectroscopy and imaging.
Examples of the current research include the development of fundamental fluorescence techniques such as NIR fluorescence anisotropy, fluorescence lifetime, design of activatable fluorescent probes for detection of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species for early detection of inflammation, nanothermometers for image guided thermal ablation of tumors and the development of optical imaging techniques in the extended NIR spectral range. We have applied these methods for the characterization of contrast agents, discovering novel mechanisms of fluorescence quenching and activation, and ultimately use these discoveries to drive the design of new contrast agents.
One of the missions of our lab is to provide high end state-of-the art spectroscopy instrumentation to the users and collaborators. In 2012, the lab installed a unique fluorometer specifically designed for research in NIR spectral range (up to 1600 nm). This custom-designed system purchased from funding provided by NIH is one of the most sophisticated fluorescent spectrophotometers in the world.