Engineering the Nano-Bio Interface for Applications in Nanomedicine

The convergence of the fields of nanotechnology and medicine has resulted in numerous innovative approaches for sensors, new therapies for diseases, and biomolecular machines. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for effectively using nanoparticles in biology is the physical interface between the nanomaterial and individual biomolecules, as well as its biological environment. Nanoparticles are highly prone to non-specific adsorption, where proteins and DNA non-covalently stick to their surfaces. This often results in formation of a protein corona, a cloud of weakly bound proteins surrounding the nanoparticle. However, non-specific adsorption can actually be exploited for biological applications. We show how the unique properties of the nano-bio interface can be utilized for different applications. We discuss how we use gold nanorods to reversibly control blood clotting with laser excitation by using the unique size and shape dependent properties of gold nanorods. In addition, we will discuss the use of gold nanoparticles in rapid diagnostics for different infectious diseases such as dengue, zika, chikungunya, Ebola, and others in rugged environments.

BIOGRAPHY Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli obtained her S.B. in Chemistry from MIT in 1994. She obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000 in the group of A. Paul Alivisatos. Following this, she was a postdoctoral associate in the Molecular Machines at the MIT Media Lab with Joe Jacobson. She joined MIT in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Biological Engineering as a faculty member from 2002-2012. Currently she is Associate Professor of Engineering in the College of Science and Mathematics at UMass Boston and Visiting Scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT .