A big look into the ultra small

Pairing quantum dots with a protein transporter, three students from
Missouri S&T spent their summer in Taiwan trying to develop a more
effective and efficient drug delivery method.


Pairing quantum dots with a protein transporter, three students from Missouri S&T spent their summer in Taiwan trying to develop a more effective and efficient drug delivery method.

It sounds like something that might have happened aboard the Starship Enterprise. Instead it happened as part of an academic exchange program between Missouri S&T and Taiwan’s National Dong Hwa University.

Quantum dots, often used in bioimaging because of their ability to emit fluorescence, are so small that 500,000 of them could fit on the head of a pin. Protein transduction domains (PTD) are very small proteins with nine identical amino acids. Their simple makeup allows them to easily enter cells, which are typically very selective. By acting as a transporter, these proteins can carry several biomolecules into cells.

Using the fluorescent properties of quantum dots and the transporter abilities of the PTDs, researchers could send biomaterials, such as drugs, into the body and see which organs they reach. In Taiwan, the Missouri S&T students learned to combine the two systems.

Participating in the Taiwan research exchange program were biological sciences seniors Jamie Statler and Isaac Deatherage, and Angela Rudolph, Chem’08. Yue-wern Huang, associate professor of biological sciences, Katie Shannon, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Jeff Winiarz, assistant professor of chemistry, directed the group. The group plans to seek funding from the National Institutes of Health.

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