What is the problem you're trying to solve?
Existing biomarker technologies for disease detection depend on the detection of individual, endogenously produced substances in the blood that may or may not be biologically relevant to the disease itself. This results in longer times needed for a disease to become detectable and a higher chance of inaccurate diagnoses. We are working on a platform diagnostic technology that addresses these shortcomings.
How is what you're doing different than other attempts to solve this problem?
Alternatives to clinical biomarkers mostly involve imaging, but these are difficult to implement widely due to equipment availability. Our approach is to develop nanoprobes that shed synthetic biomarkers into the urine when exposed to diseased tissue. Our platform can be multiplexed, does not require sophisticated equipment on-site and only requires a urine sample.
Why are you passionate about what you're working on?
We are excited about the prospect of our diagnostic technology not only being utilized in developed nations for serious disease detection, but also in less developed nations to detect treatable disease.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of how our team of interdisciplinary researchers is working together to develop tools and technology to make a global impact. When I see my trainees move on in their careers to continue this important approach to research, and pass on this philosophy to their own mentees, I’m filled with optimism about the future.