Biomolecular engineering, bionanotechnology, molecular imaging, molecular biomechanics
Research in the Bao lab is centered at developing nanotechnologies and biomolecular engineering approaches for basic biological studies and medicine, which spans the spectrum from chemical synthesis to small animal studies. Current methodology development includes the superparamagnetic nanoparticle probes, quantum dot bioconjugates, activitable molecular probes and molecular beacons for cellular and in vivo imaging, with applications in disease detection and mechanistic studies. The Bao lab also develops novel strategies for drug/gene delivery using targeted nanoparticles, gene targeting approaches for treating single-gene disorders and other diseases using engineered nucleases, as well as bioinformatics tools and engineered nanodevices driven by biomolecular motors. The development of the methodologies involves nanoprobe and nanodevice design and validation, synthesis of biomolecules and nanoparticles, bioconjugation, specific tagging and targeting, cellular delivery, surface modification, protein production and purification, as well as addressing issues such as sensitivity, specificity, spatial and temporal resolution and signal-to-background ratio in molecular imaging, and efficacy in disease treatment. These novel technologies and methods have a broad range of applications, both in basic biological research, and disease studies.