EECE Seminar - Dr. Nancy Xu

Feb 28
11:00 AM
12:00 PM
Brauer Hall, room 12

Dr. Nancy Xu, Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Old Dominion University

New Nano Tools for Real-Time Single Molecule Imaging of Single Live Cells: From Fundamental Discoveries to Transformative Engineering and Applications

ABSTRACT: Single cells are building blocks of all living organisms and single live cells offer unique inspiration for the design of smart function materials and devices, green manufacture and innovative cellular inspired chemical and biomedical engineering. To achieve these transformative potentials, it is crucial to depict how individual live cells function and communicate in real time at single-molecule resolution. Notably, functions of individual molecules in single live cells could be defined by the space and time. Interactions of couples of molecules in single live cells can induce a cascade of vital cellular responses and lead to a wide range of functions, underscoring the importance of study their interactions in single live cells with spatial and temporal resolutions. Current tools are unable to real-time study multiple types of single molecules and their interactions in single live cells with adequate spatial and temporal resolutions and over a desired period of time. To better understand the cellular function, we have developed a set of powerful new tools, including photostable single plasmonic nanoparticle imaging probes, single molecule nanoparticle optical biosensors (SMNOBS), and far-field photostable-optical-nanoscopy (PHOTON). We have demonstrated that these new tools can overcome the drawbacks of fluorescence-based imaging methods for dynamic and single molecule imaging of single live cells with superior temporal and spatial resolutions and over a long period of time (hours, days, weeks). We have used these new tools to real-time study: (i) molecular cascades of signaling transduction pathways of single live cells; (ii) molecular mechanisms of multidrug resistance of single live cells; (iii) native environments of developing embryos; and (iv) rare subsets of single cancer stem cells (CSCs) for exploring new paradigm of early cancer detection and targeted therapy. In this seminar, I will describe these new nanobiotechnology and their innovative engineering applications. The work is supported by NIH and NSF.

BIO: Dr. X. Nancy Xu is the AAAS Fellow and Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering at Old Dominion University. During her tenure at Old Dominion University, Dr. Xu has built a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research laboratory, and successfully developed a nationally and internationally recognized and well-funded interdisciplinary research program at the interface of chemistry, biology, engineering, and medicine. Dr. Xu has demonstrated a track-record of accomplishments in successfully competing for highly prestigious federal research grants from both NIH and NSF. Dr. Xu has pioneered the development of a set of powerful new tools for Chemical and biomedical research. She has made distinguished contributions to the fields of sensing, imaging, nanobiotechnology, and ultrasensitive bioanalysis. She is especially well known for her pioneering work in single molecule detection, single live cell imaging, single nanoparticle optics, single nanoparticle plasmonic spectroscopy, and electrochemiluminescence, that impacts a number of research fields. Dr. Xu holds a world-wide patent on DNA Biosensors and has consistently published her work in high impact peer-reviewed journals such as Science, JACS, Nano Letter; ACS Nano, Nanoscale, Analytical Chemistry; Journal Physical Chemistry C, Research in Chemical Toxicology; Biochemistry; J. Electrochemical Society. Dr. Xu has served as a reviewer and panelist for 15 national and international funding agencies, including ACS, DoE, DOD, EPA, NIH, NSF, and NAS in US, French National Research Agency (ANR) in France, DGF in Germany, HKRGC in Hong Kong, Israel Science Foundation, National Science Centre-Poland, Integrated Grants in Singapore, and Swiss-NSF. Dr. Xu has served as the member of executive committee and alternative councilor of ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry since 2016. Dr. Xu received her B.S. from Xiamen University and her Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and Ames Lab-Iowa State University. Dr. Xu has received a number of awards, including 2020 AAAS mentor award, 2019 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Roland F. Hirsch Award, NASA NanoTech Briefs Nano50 Innovator Award, NASA NanoTech Briefs Nano50 Technology Award, Finalist of NIH Follow That Cell Challenge, NSF First BRAIN Initiative EAGER Award, Faculty Research Achievement Award, Distinguished Research Award, John R. Broderick Diversity Champion Award, Student-Nominated Shining Star Recognitions, and Student-Selected Most Inspired Faculty Member. Dr. Xu was elected to the AAAS Fellow in 2011. Her profile is at