Bioplasmonics Group


The Bioplasmonics Group focuses on advancing innovations in nanoscale-dependent properties to enable unique spatial and temporal capabilities needed for quantification in bioscience and medicine.

Actuation: Spatiotemporal control of genes

Precise spatial and temporal resolution of gene expression (i.e., the precise location where a gene is expressed and the precise time at which the gene is expressed) can provide insight into mechanisms orchestrating the formation of tissues, and may lead to new strategies to engineer functional replacement tissues. However, methods for efficient, spatiotemporal modulation of genes are needed, but are currently lacking. To achieve this goal, the Bioplasmonics Group is developing plasmonic technologies to focus incoming electromagnetic fields down to dimensions smaller than the diffraction limit, and enable spatial and temporal control of genes.

Lee, S.E., Sasaki, D.Y., Park, Y., Xu, R., Brennan, J. Bissell, M.J. and Lee, L.P. “Photonic gene circuits by optically addressable siRNA-Au nanoantennas,” ACS Nano, 2012, 6(9), 7770-7780.

Lee, S.E., Liu, G.L., Kim, F. and Lee, L.P. “Remote optical switch for localized and selective control of gene interference,” Nano Letters, 2009, 9, 562-570.

Sensing: Quantification of single molecules

Precise measurement of secreted molecules, such as growth factors, proteases and morphogens, can provide insight into how their concentration gradients form within the cellular microenvironment and how cells respond to these concentration gradients in development and in cancer. The ability to detect single molecules provides a promising approach for measuring secreted molecules within their local microenvironment. To this end, the Bioplasmonics Group is exploring plasmonic approaches, capable of single-molecule sensitivity and high specificity, to enable dynamic and adaptive live-cell measurement of secreted single molecules in their local microenvironment.

Lee, S.E., Chen, Q., Bhat, R., Petkiewicz, S., Smith, J.M., Ferry, V.E., Correia, A.L., Alivisatos, A.P., Bissell, M.J. “Reversible aptamer-gold plasmon rulers for secreted single molecules,” Nano Letters 2015, 15 (7), pp 4564–4570.”

Lee, S.E., Alivisatos, A.P. and Bissell, M.J. “Towards plasmonics-enabled spatiotemporal activity patterns in three-dimensional culture models,” Systems Biomedicine, 2013, 1(1), 1-9.

Prospective Students

We welcome multi-disciplinary and motivated undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in working at the interface between life science, physical science and engineering.