Current molecular probes and sensor technologies present limitations in both the range of targets that can be measured and the ability to function in the complicated in vivo environment. The Cash Lab will help answer pressing biomedical questions by developing novel nanosensors that overcome these limitations and applying these new tools in situ. Traditional sensor designs, while being quite valuable for in vitro and laboratory analysis, often fail in vivo due to complications such as sensor invasiveness, sensitivity, selectivity, and limitations from the sensor readout mechanism. Polymeric nanosensors have emerged over the past several years as an excellent nanosensor design platform for continuous in vivo monitoring that overcomes the shortcoming of many traditional sensor designs.

Using this platform, we have four distinct projects around this topic of continuous monitoring.

  1. Develop Enzyme Linked Nanosensors (ELiNS) to continuously monitor lactate levels during acute liver failure.
  2. Develop peptide targeted nanosensors for pH, pO2, pCO2, and lactate to monitor tumor metabolism during treatment.
  3. Develop fluorescence lifetime based nanosensors for improved cellular imaging in biofilms.
  4. Study the fundamental properties of nanoparticle sensors