1. Multiplex biosensor
We are developing innovative sensing platforms for the multiplexed detection of protein biomarkers and DNAs. These platforms are based on barcoded, free-standing microparticles, similar to the elements of conventional microarrays. The special encoding methods permit the production of unlimited amount of uniquely coded microparticles for wide applications in medical science, forensics, defense and pharmaceutical industry.
2. High-throughput single-cell signalomics
Signaling transduction in any cells always involves a number of signaling proteins. How they interact and cooperate with each other is varied dramatically between different cell types and even in the same population. We developed a single-cell microchip technology before that uniquely profiles all the signaling proteins including secreted proteins, activated membrane receptors and phosphoproteins from single cancer cells and immune cells. The two directions in our lab are as follows:
1. Real-time detection of signaling pathway activities in single live cells. Conventional approaches by GFP labeling etc. are limited by the number of multiplexity and are not powerful enough for signaling pathway studies in live cells. We are developing micro-/nano- technologies to probe the activities of multiple signaling pathways from the same live single cells.
2. Point-of-care single-cell diagnostics tools. Although cellular heterogeneity has been well acknowledged, multiplexed single-cell tools are still a luxury in diagnostics and are not commonly used like western blot and ELISA. We are developing unified single-cell tools to profile a number of signaling proteins at the cost of $1 in a field setting for anyone without special training.
3. Systems biology with machine learning
Big data from single-cell analysis tools are combined with machine learning to precisely predict disease status and patient's response. With our unique single-cell proteomics technology and data analysis, we are also trying to understand the fundamental biological phenomena such as how cancer cells and immune cells are communicating and living in the same tumor, why the immune cells are so diversified, how to find the right target to kill all cancer cells, etc.