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Professor Shana Kelley, Dept of Biochemistry, University of Toronto

Event Date: 
Monday, November 12, 2018 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

How Low Can We Go? Ultrasensitive Analysis of Rare Biomolecular and Cellular Analytes

To put disease-related biomarkers to work in the clinic, new high-performance technologies are needed to enable rapid and sensitive analysis of clinical specimens. Electrochemical methods providing low cost and direct biomarker readout have attracted a great deal of attention for this application. We exploit controlled nanostructuring of electrode surfaces to enhance biomolecular capture rates and efficiencies to solve this long-standing problem and showed that the nanoscale morphologies of electrode surfaces control their sensitivities. Recently, we have developed assays that are able to detect nucleic acids, proteins and small molecules, with universally high sensitivity levels. These high-performance sensors that can be applied to a broad collection of clinically-relevant analytes. Using a high-precision approach to cell profiling, we have also developed a powerful tool for the characterization of rare cells, the isolation of therapeutic cell types and the capture of transient phenotypes that emerge during high-throughput screening trials. The application of this technology to the development of liquid biopsy-based diagnostic tests and other emerging areas will be highlighted.

Dr. Shana Kelley is a University Professor at the University of Toronto and a member of the Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Kelley received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute. The Kelley research group works in a variety of areas spanning biophysical/bioanalytical chemistry, chemical biology and nanotechnology, and has pioneered new methods for tracking molecular and cellular analytes with unprecedented sensitivity. Dr. Kelley’s work has been recognized with a variety of distinctions, including being named one of “Canada’s Top 40 under 40”, a NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellow, the 2011 Steacie Prize, and the 2016 NSERC Brockhouse Prize.

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