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Development of molecular imaging probes

Research in our lab utilizes chemical and biological tools to develop new molecular imaigng probes. We currently investigate novel imaging strategies to visualize specific targets and biological events in cells and animal models. Recent research projects focus on the following studies. 


1. Small-molecule diagnostic probes for early and accurate detection of Alzheimer's disease(AD) biomakers 

 NIR fluorescence imaging for visualizing Aβ plaques and evaluating drug efficacy in small animal models is of tremendous interest. Recently, we report new curcumin derivatives to monitor the progressions of AD and to evaluate the efficacies of drug candidates for treating AD. In addition, we investigate novel probes for non-invasive imaging of retinal amyloid deposits.  



2. Nano-aggregation probes for enzyme activity imaging

 Imaging of enzyme activity in living subjects promises many applications in both basic and translational researches from helping elucidate the enzyme function and mechanism in biology to better disease detection and monitoring. These approaches rely upon and benefit from enzymatic function, creating signal retention/amplification and producing high specificity and sensitivity with little perturbation to the biological functions of targeted enzymes. We currently develop enzyme responsible nano-aggregation probes to monitor disease-related enzyme activities in vitro and in vivo.


3. In vivo tracking of hazardous substances using molecular imaging tools   

 To assess the risk posed by a toxic chemical to human health, it is essential to quantify its uptake in a living subject. Methods used to monitor the biological uptake of hazardous materials and their spatiotemporal behavior in vivo must be accurate and reliable. We have  investigated the biodistribution and in vivo behaviors of several toxic substances such as PHMG, CMIT/MIT, DEP, and microplastics using radiolabeling strategies and nuclear imaging methods.       


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