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Cytometry - New Markers and Labels (Raman/SERS)

Flow cytometry is one of the predominant laboratory methods for analyzing blood and other cell types in clinical samples.  However, this technique relies heavily on the availability and quality of fluorescent probes usually directed against specific cell surface markers.  To address new challenges of improving the multiplexing capability of flow cytometry, this project proposes to evaluate the applicability of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanoparticles as cellular labels for flow cytometry. These nanoparticles, which consist of Raman active reporter molecules attached to a metal nanoparticle, exhibit narrow spectral signals compared to traditional fluorescent tags that can improve the multiplexed detection of multiple cellular markers. In this project, the optical properties of these nanoparticles will be characterized in microfluidic environments relevant to flow cytometry. In addition, this project will investigate the use of these SERS tags for imaging cells and monitoring cellular dynamics and development.

Figure 1: (left) A surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) tag consists of a Raman active reporter molecule attached to a metal nanoparticle and encased in a silica coating. SERS tags can be functionalized with antibodies for targeting biological molecules. (right) A SERS spectrum from the tag contains many unique narrow Raman bands for increased multiplexing capabilities.

Project PI:  James Chan, PhD
eFellow: Tatyana Chernenko, PhD
UC Davis Investigators: Thomas Huser, PhD, Jian Jian Li, PhD
BD Biosciences Partners: Diether Recktenwald, PhD, Ming Yan, PhD