(2/9) Dr. Jeff Chan

Dr. Jeff Chan

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Friday, February 9, 2024
12:00 Noon
Room 120 – Meyerhoff Chemistry Building
Host: Dr. Marcin Ptaszek


“Design and Synthesis of Chemical Tools to Study and Manipulate Stem Cell Biology”

Many disease states, including those related to stem cell dynamics, cancer progression, and age-related degeneration, are characterized by molecular-level changes that precede detectable symptoms. Stem cells and cancer stem cells, in particular, exhibit unique biomarkers that are pivotal in understanding not only tumorigenesis but also the mechanisms of aging. To maximize treatment outcomes and to advance anti-aging research, it is crucial to detect such alterations at an early stage, including the precise identification of specific biomarkers.
Our laboratory has made significant strides by applying activity-based sensing (ABS) designs to synthesize small-molecule organic probes capable of reporting on the presence and activity of these targets. By equipping these probes with a photoacoustic (light in, sound out) readout, they have been optimized for use in live subjects. These probes distinguish between different cell types based on their unique biomarker signatures, which is essential for tracking stem cell populations, identifying early signs of malignancy, and understanding the aging process at a cellular level.
In this seminar, we will discuss the strategies employed to construct these specialized imaging probes, and we will highlight recent applications from our laboratory. These include the detection and monitoring of stem cell and cancer stem cell biomarkers, as well as groundbreaking advancements in the detection of aging-related biomarkers, contributing to the burgeoning field of anti-aging research.