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  • Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering

    Fri, Feb 16, 2024 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Arnab Mukherjee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering & Biological Engineering University of California, Santa Barbara

    Talk Title: Engineering genetic reporters for molecular MRI

    Abstract: The study of biological functions in intact organisms requires noninvasive genetic reporters to track cells, image gene expression, and monitor signaling pathways. While fluorescent and bioluminescent proteins are widely used as reporters, their utility in deep tissues is limited due to the scattering and absorption of light, which impede imaging beyond a depth of ~ 1 mm from the tissue surface. To overcome this challenge, my research harnesses unexpected connections between proteins and the physics of magnetic resonance (MRI) to create new biomolecular reporters for deep tissue imaging. In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts to address three long-standing challenges in the development of viable MRI reporters: sensitivity, specificity, and sensor design. First, I will highlight our recent work in increasing reporter gene sensitivity to detect small numbers of genetically labeled cells, potentially, as few as hundred cells per imaging voxel. I will then describe the creation of chemically erasable reporters, which enable “hotspot” imaging with a low tissue background. Finally, I will discuss a new modular approach for programming MRI sensors based on protease modulation of reporter activity.

    Biography: Arnab Mukherjee is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering & Biological Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to arriving at UCSB, Dr. Mukherjee completed a James G. Boswell fellowship in Molecular Engineering at Caltech (working with Prof. Mikhail Shapiro) and obtained his Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The Mukherjee lab works at the intersection of molecular engineering, synthetic biology, and molecular imaging to create new genetic reporters and sensors for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Research in the Mukherjee group has been consistently supported by the NIH, Army, and foundations; and recognized with notable awards, including an Outstanding Young Investigator Award (NIH MIRA), a Discovery Award from the DoD, the NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and a 2022 Scialog Fellows award in Advanced Bioimaging.

    Host: Jenny Treweek

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 100 B

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Carla Stanard


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