MEMS SEMINAR: "Multi-modal Engineering to Advance Cancer Liquid Biopsy"

Oct 17

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Tuesday, October 17, 2023 – 12:00PM to 1:00PM


Yong Zeng

Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science Seminar with Professor Yong Zeng, Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Florida. Talk title: "Multi-modal Engineering to Advance Cancer Liquid Biopsy"

ABSTRACT: Liquid biopsy is an appealing paradigm in early diagnosis, prognosis, and precision treatment of cancer, as tissue biopsy is highly invasive, costly, and often infeasible to repeat. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes, are emerging as a new modality of liquid biopsy for cancer diagnosis and precision medicine. However, it remains challenging to isolate and measure these diverse nanosized vesicles in complex biological samples. This talk will be focused on our recent progress in multi-modal engineering of microfluidic systems, nanomaterials-based biosensors, and biomolecular systems (e.g., CRISPR/Cas12a) to substantially improve isolation and molecular profiling of tumor-derived EVs with minute sample consumption. Adaptation of these new engineering approaches to clinical profiling of circulating EVs will be demonstrated for diagnosis and monitoring of a variety of solid tumors, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and pediatric Ewing Sarcoma. Our technologies were seen to improve the diagnostic power of the EV-based liquid biopsies compared to the conventional tests, which suggests their potential of translation into clinical utilities. Overall, these multi-modal engineered systems would provide enabling biosensing capabilities to promote early diagnosis and precision medicine of cancer.

BIO: DR. YONG ZENG is an associate professor and the head of Analytical Division in the Dept. of Chemistry at the University of Florida, affiliate faculty of UF Biomedical Engineering, and a member of UF Health Cancer Center. His research draws on chemistry, material sciences, bioengineering, and medicine to develop innovative micro and nanoscale tools to advance precision medicine of challenging diseases, in particular cancer. His technology innovations span from biomolecular assays to lab-on-a-chip systems and to smart biosensor powered by robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) for sensitive and quantitative measurements of liquid biopsies and biomarkers, including extracellular vesicles (EVs), proteins, and nucleic acids.