The menacing terms like global warming, green house effect or climatic changes are all intimately associated with energy production and utilization. The increasing number of population, combined with changing lifestyle needs, has made the energy requirement an all time high. Limited reserve of fossil fuel and yet to be matured alternate energy technologies therefore has led to a crisis in energy production. Interestingly, only ~40% of generated energy is being utilized by the end user and the rest dissipate as the waste heat. One of the most challenging research areas in energy related technologies is to re-convert that waste heat into electricity. Among several waste heat conversion technologies, solid state generation through thermoelectricity has shown huge potential. In this presentation, I will discuss a basic model of thermoelectric energy generation and future research programs that would be undertaken at NIIST.
Part-I Delivery of therapeutics and imaging agents to target tissues requires localization and activation strategies with molecular specificity. Cell-associated proteases can be used for these purposes in a number of pathological conditions and their enzymatic activities can be exploited for activation strategies. The novel idea in this proposal entails selective delivery of cargoes using enzyme specific protease specially for cancer targeting sites. Here, Arginine octamer (Arg-8-mer) and Tat(49-57) sequence have been used as cell-penetrating peptides and non-peptide scaffold based sorbitol unit with octa-guanidine moiety also acts as cell-penetrating delivery vehicle conjugated by a number of protease specific substrate viz., MM2, Cathepsin B, PSA used as a targeting agent for selective tissue, cells. Part-II Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a versatile technique, which enhances the intensity of the vibrational spectra of a molecule by several order of magnitude when the molecule is in close proximity of metallic nanoparticles made of gold or silver. The recent high demand for a reliable and sensitive detection of multiple biomarkers and ligands in vivo lead to the use of nanoaparticle (NPs) based SERS technique, which can combine the advantages such as the ease of delivery associated with NPs and vibrational spectral fingerprinting of SERS. We have studied a systematic and comprehensive screening and selection process to identify ultra sensitive and potential multiplexing-capable novel SERS nanotags for in vitro and in vivo imaging. A simple high throughput screening combined by chemical optimization will provide clinically relevant SERS probes. As a practical application of the novel probes, we will target and visualize specific cancer biomarkers EGFR and Her2, which are important candidates for cancer detection and therapy, e.g. head and neck cancer. Our specific aims of the study : (1) Screening of diverse sets of Raman active molecules as SERS nanotags for both visible and NIR region yielding distinctive with highly sensitive well resolved Raman spectra (2) Development of the best SERS nanotags for in vitro and in vivo detection and imaging; (3) Biomedical Application: Detection of Biomarkers (EGFR and Her2) for the early detection of head and neck Cancer (Oral and Nasopharyngeal cancer), breast cancer; (4) Optical instrumentation for the in vivo imaging in an animal models using SERS nanotags.
DNA is one of the major biomolecules that are essential for all forms of life on earth. Genetic information used in the development and functioning of living organisms is encoded and transmitted through generations using the sequence of four nucleotides (A, C, G & T) in DNA. Besides the exciting biological roles it play, DNA has many more interesting properties making it useful in organic synthesis, template mediated self-assembly, nano-electronics, drug-delivery, bio-diagnostics and so on. The usefulness of DNA in the design of efficient bio-diagnostic probes will be highlighted in this talk. Strategies to utilize the highly specific and programmable sequence recognition properties of DNA in highly specific and sensitive bio-sensor assemblies will also be discussed.