The integration of biomolecular engineering, nanotechnology and biology is expected to produce major breakthroughs in medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Due to the size-compatibility of nano-scale structures with proteins and nucleic acids, the design, synthesis and application of nanoprobes, nanocarriers and nanomachines provide unprecedented opportunities for achieving a better control of biological processes, and drastic improvements in disease detection, therapy, and prevention. Recent advances include the development of functional nanoparticles, activitable molecular probes, nano-structured materials and devices, and engineered nanomachines for biological and biomedical applications.
In this talk I will present the development of molecular imaging probes and engineered nucleases in my lab, including molecular beacons and magnetic nanoparticle probes for molecular imaging and biomolecule detection, and the design and validation of Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFNs), Tal Effector Nucleases (TALENs) and CRISPR/Cas9 systems for treating single-gene disorders. Examples will be given to illustrate the potential application of nanotechnology to disease studies, including cardiovascular disease and sickle cell disease.