Research

Our lab specializes in many areas of optical imaging and spectroscopy with emphasis on single molecule detection and development of imaging based techniques. Our research is focused on the application of novel imaging and optical detection approaches to genomic studies and biomarker detection. We are developing new spectroscopy and microscopy methodologies that combine advanced optics with tools and reagents from the realm of nano-technology. In addition, we have great interest in developing unique biochemistries for genomic analysis that are based on chemo-enzymatic reactions.

 

Research in the lab currently focuses on three fields of interest:

 

 

Single molecule genomics by optical mapping:

 

We create optical barcodes containing genetic and epigenetic information by labeling long chromosomal DNA molecules with fluorescent markers. Nano-fluidic channels are used to stretch the DNA by flow or electric field and the barcode is directly visualized by single molecule imaging. We are also applying super-resolution imaging techniques in order to increase the resolution and allow detection of genomic aberrations.

 

 

Epigenetic analysis technologies:

 

Epigenetics is one of the most exciting and fast growing fields in biology. It constitutes several layers of genomic information that do not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence and links biological signatures with mental or environmental conditions . We develop new methods for sequencing, as well as targeted and global analysis of various epigenetic markers. We use these novel methods in order to study epigenetic alterations related to disease. We are also very interested in the physiological interface between nature and nurture, biology and psychology, body and spirit. 

 

 

High-throughput single molecule detection:

 

We develop optical methods and nano-biosensors for detection of rare analytes and weakly interacting biomolecules. Our emphasis is on ultrasensitive detection and quantification of clinical biomarkers. To achieve this aim we are developing a micro-lens-array based optical setup that can detect single molecule fluorescence from hundreds of confocal excitation volumes in parallel.

We are also active in development of single-molecule counting schemes and development of high resolution imaging techniques and specialized contrast agents that utilize fluorescence, plasmonics and energy transfer for super-resolution (SR) imaging.