SUPER Dot molecular probes: finding a needle in a haystack

Excellence in Research – Science & Engineering – 2013 Research Award Winner

Dr Dayong Jin, Faculty of Science

Diseases, like cancer, usually develop over years before symptoms appear. This is because the altered biomarkers are generally present in low numbers, and are extremely difficult to detect, posing a needle-in-a-haystack problem.

Current detection, quantification and localisation technologies use fluorescent probes that are limited by sensitivity and analysis time. The Advanced Cytometry Labs at Macquarie has invented and demonstrated a library of hypersensitive molecular probes – SUPER Dots – able to pinpoint small numbers of abnormal cells in water, blood and urine.

It improves the detectable limits by orders of magnitude, promising non-invasive early-stage diagnosis.

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