Current Research

Molecular imaging

Develop targeted imaging probes for noninvasive characterization of molecular events associated with tumor progression and regression. Multiple imaging modalities including PET, SPETC, MRI, and optical imaging are used to acquire complementary data with increased sensitivity and selectivity for early tumor detection, tumor-marker profiling, and the monitoring of early treatment responses. 

Drug delivery systems and nanomedicine

Develop novel drug-delivery systems for selective delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic agents to the diseased sites. Nanometric drug carriers are designed for selectively delivery of anticancer agents to the tumor to maximize their therapeutic efficacy and minimize their toxic side effects to the normal tissues.  Our long-term goal is to apply the “seek and treat” strategy in the development of targeted imaging/therapeutic agents that will eventually be translated to the clinic to improve the management of cancer through early tumor detection and individualized therapy.

Photoacoustic Imaging

Construct biological imaging based on the detection of acoustic waves induced by the absorption of short optical pulses in tissue. Further to quantitatively detect intrinsic chromophores and exogenous contrast agents employing spectroscopic photoacoustic imaging.

List of Research Projects

  • Near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) optical imaging agents, including those targeted to EGFR, PDGFR, integrin avb3, cathepsins, and matrix metalloproteinases;
  • Radiolabeled imaging probes for the detection of therapy-induced apoptosis;
  • Blood-pool and necrosis–avid magnetic resonance (MR) imaging agents for monitoring treatment responses;
  • Targeted drug delivery using biodegradable, water-soluble polymeric drug delivery systems;
  • Multi-functional nanoparticulate carrier systems for cancer treatment using “seek and treat” strategy;
  • Novel metallic nanoparticles for photoacoustic imaging and photothermal ablation therapy.