News Medical's "Thought Leaders" series is a selection of articles written by national and
international experts and trusted advisers in the life sciences industry. All the articles are
written by experts who have been invited as recognised leaders in their fields to provide
a "state of the art" contribution.
My name is James Gimzewski and I am a distinguished professor at UCLA. I'm in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, but I am also heavily involved in the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. We were probably the first to pioneer the idea of what is now known as mechanobiology – the study of the mechanical properties of cancer cells as a potential diagnostic tool.
We study mammalian cells and try to understand how these cells interact with their environment. We mainly focus on the interactions that can occur with individual ligands.
Cell mechanics was already of interest very early on to people who were using the AFM. The AFM was invented in 1986 and the first biological samples, both proteins and lipid molecules, were investigated around 1989 and the first time cells were investigated was around 1990.
I run a core facility for AFM techniques, biological medical applications. My research is focussed on in the interaction of platelets and cancer cells.
Force microscopy is a technique which would probably be best described with the help of a small finger with an apex just a few atoms in size that can touch objects. This is a learning finger.
My group is interested in host pathogen interaction and we mainly focus on how bacteria enter cells. In essence, the idea is that if you can prevent bacteria from entering cells, then you will prevent illness.
My lab, broadly speaking, is interested in trying to understand interactions between cells and materials. Those could be materials that are present within living tissue or materials that we use for engineering purposes to try to do something of technological or therapeutic interest.
We are working in the field of biomedical engineering and our specific focus is on the development of biohybrid medical systems or biohybrid implants. That means we combine a technical structure with a biological function to make medical systems and implants performing better.
Biomarkers fall into different categories: diagnostic biomarkers, are used to identify a disease; prognostic biomarkers, help clinicians to determine, for example, whether you're more likely to die or have problems with a disease; and there are some that can be used to inform treatment, to determine whether one therapy would be more successful than another.
Pittcon is an analytical conference, so naturally my talk will be about analytical chemistry and how analytical chemistry will become increasingly important in delivering healthcare solutions, not only for rich people, but also, hopefully, for poor people across the world.
I will talk about the simple but fundamental idea that allowed breaking the diffraction barrier in fluorescence microscopy as well as about MINFLUX nanoscopy, the latest development in the field that for the first time provides true molecular resolution with visible light and standard objective lenses.
I'm an MR imaging scientist in the preclinical field. I'm a team leader of the functional and molecular imaging team at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) in QST.
It is important to keep in mind that nontuberculous mycobacteria are environmental, and so unlike mycobacterial tuberculosis, generally this is not a person to person transmitted disease. The organisms are found universally in water and soil and so most people are exposed on a daily basis.
Aging is the continuing process of such stress exposures, and with advancing age (normal aging), we must carry lots of senescent cells within our bodies. Senescent cells also often provide some ‘bad influences’ to surrounding healthy cells; such as chronic inflammation and tumorigenesis
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic relapsing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract with abdominal pain and diarrhea being the most common symptoms. It can be challenging to diagnose as gastrointestinal complaints mimicking IBD are common.
The mTOR pathway is probably the main pathway in humans and other animals that drives growth. That is, the accumulation of mass and adding mass to make an organism bigger by both making more cells, and making cells grow and become bigger.
Traditionally, we use biopsies to try to predict how cancer spreads. There are a number of molecular markers that are used, but biopsy is a limited approach. Now, the current trend is to use liquid biopsy, which is basically a blood sample.
Proteins are an important component of our diet and help to build muscles; they take part in the structure of hormones and they are vital to the whole body’s metabolism. The most important consequence is that the liver loses its capacity to produce proteins (such as albumin) and to metabolise (inactivate or activate in some cases) medicaments for instance.
RNA sequencing is basically the isolation of RNA from cells and the use of reverse transcriptase to turn the RNA into DNA. You can then use your standard DNA sequencing technologies to quantify the cDNA that you obtained from the reverse transcription reaction.
Many of the most fundamental, life governing biological processes take place at size and time scales that remain invisible with current imaging technologies. Understanding how the molecules that underlie these processes move, interact and change could pave the way for new treatments, cures and the development of novel drug therapies.