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2020-03-10 | Research

Killing bacteria with light and oxygen just got easier

Chris Edwards | 03/09/2020   A new study by Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) has found a new form of luminescent material ideal for bacterial treatments that had previously shown themselves to be resistant to a broad range of drugs. Department of Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Li Kai led the research published in the high-impact journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition (Angew Chem Int Ed). The paper was titled “Planar AIEgens with Enhanced Solid‐State Luminescence and ROS‐Generation for Multidrug‐Resistant Bacteria Treatment.” Figure 1. The design strategy of fluorine replacing planar AIEgens Fluorescent materials have shown great potential in optoelectronics and biomedical engineering. However, one of the major flaws behind traditional fluorophores is that they suffer from aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ), a situation where the collection of fluorophores reduces the intensity of luminescence. The discovery of various types of aggregation-induced luminescent agents (AIEgens) provides a promising solution to address this challenge. However, it is still vital to find a simple and effective method to enhance solid-state luminescence of planar AIEgens, which would find significant commercial applications. Figure 2. UV-vis and fluorescence spectra of planar AIEgens (DMA-AB-F and F-AB-DMA). The research team designed and synthesized three pairs of planar AIEgens and studied their photophysical properties, intending to apply molecular engineering techniques to restrict the movement of the AIEgens in their aggregated state. Their results showed that they were able to inhibit their molecular movement and their non-radiative transition through the introduction of fluorine atoms to the aromatic ring. They hypothesized that the planar AIEgens they had developed would improve AIE performance and effectively promote the generation of ROS. Figure 3. Antibacterial effect in vitro. The research team tested the new AIEgens as photosensitizers against multidrug-resistant bacteria under a mouse model. In vitro testing (testing outside the body of a living organism) showed that their AIEgens would effectively kill MDR E. Coli and MRSA. In the follow-up in vivo testing on mice, they were able to show that their AIEgens would kill significantly more bacteria following photodynamic therapy than the control group. Figure 4. In vivo antibacterial effect. The study has proved a new direction in the treatment of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections through the use of reactive oxygen species expressed through the use of planar AIEgens. This unique approach provides more opportunities for researchers to develop a broad range of AIE photosensitizers for use in the biomedical industry. Research Associate Professor Ni Jen-Shyang and masters students Min Tianling were the co-first authors. Associate Professor Li Kai was the correspondent author. The contributing units were the Department of Biomedical Engineering at SUSTech, the HKUST-Shenzhen Research Institute (SRI), and the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The authors are grateful to the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Thousand Young Talents Program, and the Science and Technology Plan of Shenzhen for financial support. The authors also acknowledge the Center for Computational Science and Engineering at SUSTech for theoretical calculation support and SUSTech Core Research Facilities for technical support. Paper link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/anie.202001103

2020-03-05 | Research

Nanoscale spectroscopy reveals the bright high-tech future

Nanoscale technology is supporting more high-tech devices used in modern society than currently appreciated. The development and manipulation of nanostructures have developed rapidly in recent years and allowed for advances such as imaging and sensing devices with touch screens and high-resolution light-emitting diode (LED) displays. Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) Chair Professor Dayong Jin was part of an international collaborative research team that was published on March 4 in the high-impact journal, Nature. Their review article was titled, “Single-particle spectroscopy for functional nanomaterials.” The piece focuses on the luminescent nanoparticles central to many advances with the opportunities and challenges for these technologies to reach full potential. It sought to understand how single nanoparticles behave, so scientists can develop new tools that support a broad range of modern applications such as personalized medicine, cybersecurity, and quantum communication. The development of single-molecule measurements and the rapid progress in optical microscopy have made it possible to observe the fluorescence of single photons. Advances in this field could lead researchers to discover the underlying photophysics from the nanoscale – with “plenty of room at the bottom.” The article found many promising material candidates for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications, from quantum dots to carbon dots, fluorescent nano-diamonds, and nanoparticles fabricated from obscure minerals such as perovskite. There are increasing challenges as scientists step ever closer to optimal nanoparticle design, mainly as there is an increasing demand for smaller and more efficient nanoparticles with desirable characteristics. The research team focused on the development of uniform nanoparticles that are just a few nanometers in size. It is a significant challenge, along with controlling their size and shape, as new knowledge is needed about nanoparticle surface chemistry to better understand these properties, as well as their optical properties. In a dynamic field such as nanoparticles, there is seemingly no limit except the ability of science and engineering to integrate their knowledge and skill. The paper examines opportunities for continued fundamental research that pushes at the cutting-edge of nanoscale technologies. Professor Dayong Jin believes that there will be a future where nanoparticles can be used to develop biomedical signatures that answer personalized drug therapy questions from a single drop of blood. He highlighted the point that everyday technology such as smartphones and touch screens are now the result of decades of research by scientists and engineers trying to answer fundamental scientific questions. Professor Dayong Jin joined SUSTech in January 2019 and quickly established a research team of more than 40 people. The laboratory has built inorganic rare earth luminescent materials, organic rare earth complexes, super-resolution imaging, and time-resolved imaging research platforms. Dr. Jiajia Zhou from the Institute for Biomedical Materials and Devices (IBMD) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) was the first author of the paper. She worked with Dr. Alexey I. Chizik from the Third Institute of Physics at the Georg-August University of Göttingen, Prof. Steven Chu of the Department of Physics at Stanford University and SUSTech Chair Professor Dayong Jin from the Department of Biomedical Engineering. All four authors were correspondent authors. The scholars acknowledge support from the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Scheme, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Program, and the Australia China Science and Research Fund Joint Research Center for POCT. Article link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2048-8  

2019-12-17 | Research

CAE Academician lectures on biomedical technology and innovation

Chris Edwards | 12/17/2019 12 On December 15, the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) Academician Cheng Jing came to Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) to give an insightful lecture on “Technological Innovation, Transformation, and Application.” Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) Head Chair Professor Jiang Xingyu chaired the meeting. Professor Cheng Jing is a Tsinghua University School of Medicine (Department of Biomedical Engineering) Chair Professor and the director of the National Engineering Research Center of Beijing Biochip Technology. He is also a member of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences. Professor Cheng’s research is mainly focused on basic and clinical medical-related biotechnology. He has studied areas such as diagnostic and prognostic molecular typing chip technology systems that have led to biochips required for gene, protein and cell analysis. Some of his biochips have been certified by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) and entered clinical trials. Professor Cheng has published 145 SCI-standard papers in journals like Nature Biotechnology and 8 monographs. He has received more than 260 domestic and foreign patents (at the time of publishing) and has also won the second prize in the State Science and Technology Prizes on two separate occasions.     Professor Cheng discussed the integration of a healthy nation with biomedical engineering. He pointed out that the new biochip, using the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) visual inspection is a good example. An analysis of a patient’s eye can assist doctors in better-diagnosing problems, and thereby reducing errors. New surgeries are replacing traditional techniques, and micro-non-invasive operations have led to “no disinfection, no anesthesia and no wound” procedures.     He also highlighted the importance of proactive health prevention and chronic disease control within the ambit of Healthy China, as well as looking after the elderly in their homes. Biomedicine developments have improved our quality of life, and this should be treasured.   Professor Cheng took many questions from the enthusiastic students and faculty at the end of his presentation.  

2019-09-20 | Research

Chair Professor Xingyu Jiang win inaugural “Xplorer Prize”

Chris Edwards | 09/20/2019 94 The first cohort of fifty Xplorer Prize winners was awarded after four months of rigorous analysis. Two of those fifty Xplorer Prize winners were Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) Professor Jiang Xingyu (Department of Biomedical Engineering) and Associate Professor Liu Weishu (Materials Science and Engineering). Both young scientists stood out from over one thousand applicants for their cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, in energy & environmental protection respectively. They were the only winners in Shenzhen. Dr. Jiang Xingyu is the Chair Professor and Head of the Biomedical Engineering Department of SUSTech. He received his Bachelor of Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1999 and his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry of Harvard University in 2004. In 2005, he began to work in the National Center for Nanoscience and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Jiang Xingyu received funding from the National Outstanding Youth Science Fund in 2010, the Top Youth in 2013, the Special Allowance of the State Council in 2014, the Innovative Talents Promotion Plan of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Chief Scientist in the Key Special Project of the National Key Research and Development Plan of the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2019. He has published more than 200 papers, and his research directions include microfluidic chips and nano-biomedicine. He was deputy editor of Nanoscale (impact factor 7.3).   The Xplorer Prize is a non-governmental and public interest award for young scientists and technicians aged 45 and below who are working full-time on the Chinese mainland. The Xplorer Prize was created by Ma Huateng, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tencentand founder of the Tencent Foundation, and Professor Rao Yi of Peking University in cooperation with well-known scientists such as SUSTech President Chen Shiyi. The Tencent Foundation provided the initial funding for the award. Xplorer Prize announcement address: https://xplorerprize.org/gonggao.html

2019-08-02 | Research

US National Academy of Sciences Member speaks about liquid colloids

Chris Edwards | 07/31/2019 Last week, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Timothy M Swager came to Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) to give the 232nd lecture in the SUSTech Lecture Series. Professor Swager is a member of both the US National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His lecture, entitled “Liquid Colloids for the Detection of Enzymes and Pathogens,” was hosted by Professor Jiang Xingyu, Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Timothy M. Swager is an internationally renowned colloidal & polymer chemist and a pioneer in chemical sensors. He is the John D. MacArthur Chair Professor of Chemistry and the Director of the Deshpande Center of Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has published more than 450 high-quality papers and more than 90 patents so far. His honors include the Linus Pauling Medal, the Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention and Innovation, the American Chemical Society Prize for Creative Invention and the Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award (ACS). In his lecture, Timothy M. Swager talked about the synthesis and application of dynamic droplets. He compared the dynamic droplet to the blinking of the smart eye. The synthesis of the droplet can be used as a sensor to detect bacteria and viruses. The team also applied it to the detection of bacteria on the surface of smart phones. Timothy M. Swager also highlighted how complex liquid emulsions (droplets) can be reconfigured chemically or biochemically. The purpose of these configurations, he said, is to generate new transduction mechanisms to develop chemical and biological sensors. He pointed out that complex droplets behave like optical lens systems, in that small changes in surface tension can change focal length, or induce systems to switch between states. He believed that induced optical changes can be triggered by chemical, photochemical or biochemical stimuli to produce a new generation of sensors.

2019-08-02 | Research

Epigenetics expert speaks at SUSTech

Chris Edwards | 07/31/2019   Last weekend, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) welcomed Professor of Pharmacology and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada Moshe Szyf to campus. He had been invited to give the 231st lecture in the SUSTech Lecture Series, in which he gave a fascinating lecture entitled, “The Signature of Liver Cancer in Immune Cells DNA Methylation.” Professor Jiang Xingyu, Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering hosted the lecture. Professor Moshe Szyf received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University and did his postdoctoral fellowship in genetics at Harvard University. He holds a James McGill Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and is the GlaxoSmithKline-Canadian Institute of Health Chair Professor of Pharmacology at McGill University in Canada. Professor Moshe Szyf is a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the co-founding director of the Sackler Institute of Epigenetics and Psychophysiology at McGill University and a researcher at the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research Experience-based Brain and Biological Development Program. In 1994, as a co-founder of the epigenetic Sackler project, Professor Moshe Szyf first proposed the significance of medical transformation in DNA methylation.   He founded Methylgene Inc., the first enterprise in the world to develop epigenetic drugs, in Montreal, Canada. He is the founding editor of the world’s first epigenetics journal, Epigenetics. So far, Professor Moshe Szyf has published more than 280 research papers on the biological role of DNA methylation in a wide range of areas. In his lecture, Professor Moshe Szyf introduced the role of epigenetics in the development of tumors, the influence of a child’s living environment on their genomes, and advances in epigenetic research. He pointed out that DNA methylation diagnosis is done by early detection. By comparing the differences of genome-wide methylation sites in healthy people, different diseases and patients at different stages of disease, early diagnosis of disease and prediction of stage diagnosis and treatment can be achieved. Professor Moshe Szyf also elaborated the principles of molecular changes in DNA of host immune cells in HCC. The DNA methylation diagnostic technologies introduced by Moshe Szyf are of great significance to understand the mechanisms of disease and their treatment. The Q&A session at the end of the lecture was very lively, with many attending students and faculty members asking intelligent questions of Professor Moshe Szyf.

2018-12-25 | Research

Georgia Tech Professor lectures on application of nanomaterials in biomedical research

Georgia Institute of technology Professor Xia Younan was a recent visitor to Southern University of Science and Technology. Prof. Xia Younan gave the 206th lecture in the SUSTech Lecture Series, with an illuminating lecture entitled “Putting Nanomaterials to Work for Biomedical Research.” Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering Jiang Xingyu presided over the lecture. Xia Younan is an outstanding scholar in the field of nanomedicine, Brock Family Chair and Georgia Rearch Alliance, Department of Bioengineering and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). His main research interests are nanostructured materials and their applications in biomedical research. In the lecture, Xia Younan first introduced the research direction of his research group, which mainly includes nanocrystalline synthesis, Structure-Performance relationship, catalysis, nanomedicine, and regenerative medicine. In recent years, he has focused on the application of nanomaterials in biomedicine. In his lecture, he shared many excellent and representative work cases. For example, mixing simple and cheap fatty acids can lower the phase transition temperature (40 degrees Celsius), which is conducive to drug release in vivo. Xia Younan also introduced a micro-drop reactor designed by his team for the automation and large-scale production of precious metal nanocrystals. The system can be automated through online separation and purification functions, providing a simple and reliable way for the industrial production of precious metal nanocrystals. After the lecture, Xia Younan answered the questions raised by the teachers and students.

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