General Research Directives
The medical sciences have experienced several revolutionary developments over the last thirty years. The advent of nanotechnology and the application of this science to the medical frontier is likely to lead to tremendous changes in medical care availability and new treatment options for rural as well as metropolitan populations of the world.
Currently we have two areas of research regarding nanomedical applications.
- Development of new types of sensors to diagnose, monitor and treat chronic diseases.
We are specifically interested in the development of medical testing devices that are robust, small, and able to operate under low power conditions within a field setting.
- Use of nanoparticles to treat chronic disease
Given their extremely small size, many nanomaterials have unique physicochemical properties, such as a large surface area to mass ratio which can give rise to high reactivity since a greater proportion of the electrons are available for interactions with the environment. It is hoped that these properties can be used to solve some of the limitations found in traditional therapeutic and diagnostic agents. To this end we are currently examining the potential of different types of nanoparticles to reduce age- and disease-related increases in reactive oxygen species. Interestingly, our preliminary data suggest that some types of nanoparticles may remain resident in the cell after uptake. This possibility suggests that nanoparticle therapy may someday have the potential to "correct" defects in cellular physiology. Although in its infancy, it is anticipated that the findings from this work will help to develop new strategies to treat chronic diseases that have been previously unresponsive to traditional treatment modalities.