Cutting-edge biomedicine has a particular emphasis on novel methods for disease diagnosis, and monitoring of disease treatment at single cell or even molecular level. This requires the development of next-generation nanoscale biomaterials for accurate quantification of important biomarkers in-situ, and tracking their biological interactions and metabolisms within an intact cell environment in vivo. Towards this end, a series of functional nanomaterials have been successfully developed for non-invasive biomedical diagnostic imaging.

  1. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Mn-doped two-dimensional (2D) layered double hydroxides (Mn-LDH) have been facilely fabricated for the tumor diagnosis and MRI-guided gene-/chemo-therapy. The prepared Mn-LDH showed ultrahigh relativity, ultrasensitive pH response and prolonged imaging time, which enable them to be used as the MRI contrast agent for effective discrimination tumor from normal tissues. The high host layer charge density and anion exchange property allow LDH to be used as effective delivery vehicles for biomolecules (gene and siRNA), anionic anticancer drugs. We believe this new theranostic nanomaterial platform will have significant benefits for the diagnostic and treatment of tumor.



  1. Optical fluorescence/phosphorescence/lifetime imaging: Using multiphoton microscopy coupled with fluorescence lifetime imaging technology, the distribution and clearance of ultrasmall nanoparticles have been successfully investigated. The results highlighted the importance of surface charge in determining renal clearance of ultrasmall NPs, providing guidance for the design of nanoparticles for the study in vivo. Based on the success of this research, we recently studied the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during liver injury. The success in these studies holds promise to advance the fields of current analytical science and biomedicine by providing important tools for diagnosis and monitoring diseases and treatment progress.