University of California, San Diego
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering/Bioengineering
Recent advances in nanoscience and technology provide the means to image structures and to measure, monitor and manipulate fundamental biological processes at their native length-scales relevant to normal physiological activity as well as to human diseases. It has provided an important set of visualization and hypothesis-testing tools to the study of the family of neurodegenerative and protein-misfolding diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s diseases and diabetes among its insidious members. Nanoimaging tools such as the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) have imaged the three dimensional molecular structures of various amyloids. Amyloids make toxic ion channels that underlie the early key events in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other degenerative and protein-misfolding diseases. Integrated AFMs with nanopore devices, electrical recording and imaging tools provide simultaneous multidimensional and multiscale functional information. Recently, these nanotools have been used to screen a library of small molecules for controlling the structure-activity relations of these amyloid channels, as potential therapeutics of AD. Delivery of AD therapeutics to the appropriate brain region is equally important for any effective AD management. We are designing controlled, targeted, efficient and safe delivery systems. I will discuss advances in amyloid ion channel paradigm and effective therapeutic strategies.
Professor Ratnesh Lal received his M.S./M.P. in Physics & Biophysics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Alabama, and postdoctoral training at Caltech. He held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and University of California, Santa Barbara. At the University of Chicago, he was the Director of the Center of Nanomedicine, and professor of Medicine, Biophysical Sciences, & Cell Physiology. Currently, he holds joint professorships in Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, as well the co-Directorship of the Center for Excellence in Nanomedicine & Engineering, at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a Visiting Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a Guest Professor at the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics. He is a Fellow of American Association for Advancement of Science and American Institute of Medical & Biological Engineering. He was the UTS Invited Professor in Sydney for their Bionanotechnology initiative, and a New Zealand Government International Science Scholar. He has served as an Associate Editor of the Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, & Medicine Journal, and on the NIH NANO study section panel. He is on the advisory board of RC Nano, LLC and Be Green Packaging, LLC. He has presented many international keynote lectures, and is featured in many popular magazines and news media, including Time, Smithsonian, and UPI. He holds several patents based upon AFM cantilever arrays, microfluidics, optoelectronics & nanotubes for medical diagnostics, nanobiosensors & in-vivo medical nanodevices, nanoscale fluid behavior, and new TIRF, FRET, and related optical microscopy