Archive for the ‘Emerging Investigator’ Category

Emerging Investigator Series – Deanpen Japrung

We are delighted to introduce our latest Analyst Emerging Investigator, Deanpen Japrung!

Deanpen Japrung received a BSc in Medical Technology from Chulalongkorn University and a MSc in Biochemistry from Mahidol University, Thailand. In 2010, she received a DPhil in Chemical Biology from the University of Oxford under supervision of Prof. Hagan Bayley. A post-doc in Prof. Joshua Edel and Prof. Tim Albrecht’s lab at Imperial College London followed this. In 2012, she became a researcher in Nano-Molecular Target Discovery laboratory, National Nanotechnology center (NANOTEC) and she was promoted to be a team leader of this lab in 2016. Since February 2019, she has also become a research group director of the Responsive Material and Nanosensor Research group. Her research has won awards from the Department of Medical Sciences (DMsc award in 2017), National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT research award in 2018), activity awards from the Diabetes Association of Thailand (in 2017, 2018 and 2019) and a silver medal from the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions, Switzerland (2019).  So far, she has published 20 papers, more than 20 Thai Patents and 1 US patent (Granted). Her research group is focusing on synthesis and functionalization of responsive nanomaterial and development of nanosensors for disease diagnosis.

Read Deanpen’s Emerging Investigator Series paper “Ultrasensitive detection of lung cancer-associated miRNAs by multiple primer-mediated rolling circle amplification coupled with a graphene oxide fluorescence-based (MPRCA-GO) sensor” (free to access until the end of August 2019) and find out more about her in the interview below:

 

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on detection of lung cancer-associated MicroRNAs. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

Our research group is focusing on development of nanosensor platforms for analysis of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, Alzheimer and some cancers. Therefore, our first paper (as an independent researcher) was about the development of an aptasensor platform for the detection of glycated albumin, which is an intermediate biomarker for diabetes mellitus diagnosis (Biosens Bioelectron. 2016 Aug 15;82:140-5). In this paper, we used reduced graphene oxide to quench the fluorescence signal of the fluorescence labelled aptamer, which bind specifically to the glycated albumin. We measured fluorescence intensity when the fluorescence labelled aptamer left the graphene oxide to bind to the glycated albumin (target molecule). We found that the fluorescence intensity was dependent on the concentration of target molecules in the sample. Therefore, we calculated the glycated albumin concentration based on the standard curve from this system. After that we used computer simulation to study the binding mechanism of the DNA aptamer and reduced the graphene oxide (Molecular Simulation, 45:10, 841-848).

After these two publications, we have known how to deal with the graphene oxide quencher system, therefore we have continued develop the nanosensor platform using the reduce graphene oxide system to quench the fluorescence signal tag before binding to the other target molecules, such as DNA, RNA and other proteins. In the recent paper published in Analyst, apart from designing of new multiple primers, templates and using new ligase enzyme, we also used reduced graphene oxide to be a fluorescence quencher for detection of isothermal amplification product of target miRNA (miR-16, 21 and 210), which are biomarkers for lung cancer screening.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

The strategy employed in our study offers a significant improvement in sensitivity (1,000 folds compared to conventional multiple primers-mediated RCA method), specificity and detection time. This could prove very useful when detecting low abundant miRNAs e.g. miRNAs in serum/plasma and body fluids.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for developing sensors for MicroRNA detection?

I think the key design considerations for miRNA analysis is how to improve sensitivity, specificity and quantitative ability of the detection platform. More than 1000 types of microRNA (miRNA) have been discovered in the human body, however just small amount (<1 ng/mL) of miRNA is expressed and released into the blood circulation.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

The biggest challenges when conducting any research are finding real life applications for the research and how to commercialize the findings. To do all this, a research group consisting of multidisciplinary expertise is essential. An effective action plan is also vital.

How do you spend your spare time?

I love to spend time reading, book writing, painting with water colours and trail running. My favorite book is “Good luck” by Alex Rovira and Fernando Trias de Bes.

I am also a founder of the “Japrung Foundation for Rural Education” (2015-present). Our aim is to help poor students from the rural areas of Thailand. We do this by motivating them to believe in their own ability. The Foundation also offers scholarships.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

If I were not a scientist, I would love to be a writer because I love writing. I have been invited to write science articles in Thai newspapers, such as the Thai Post.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

I have always followed four steps to make me a happy scientist. These steps are adapted and combined from my favorite book “Good luck” and the advice from a global career strategist, Laura Sheehan.

1) Be open and ready to change.

2) Gain more experience and adapt your skills.

3) Make meaningful connections.

4) Be a sharing person.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Ashley Ross

We are delighted to introduce our latest Analyst Emerging Investigator, Ashley Ross!

Ashley Ross is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and a member of the Neuroscience Department and Center for Pediatric Neuroscience. She received her BS in Chemistry in 2009 at Christopher Newport University and was an undergraduate intern at NASA Langley Research Center for 3 years working with Drs. Margaret Pippin and Gao Chen. She received a PhD in Chemistry in Dr. Jill Venton’s lab at the University of Virginia in 2014. In 2014, she became a post-doc in Dr. Rebecca Pompano’s lab at the University of Virginia and was an American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Careers in Immunology Fellow. Since 2017, she has been at UC working on developing electrochemical and microfluidic tools to investigate neurochemical regulated immunity.

Read Ashley’s Emerging Investigator Series paper “Subsecond detection of guanosine using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry” and find out more about her in the interview below:

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on subsecond detection of guanosine using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?
Over the last 10 years, I have focused on developing bioanalytical tools to study complex chemical signaling. My early work in graduate school focused on developing electrochemical tools to study the other important purine, adenosine. Specifically, I developed a new electrode modification procedure which combined carbon nanotubes and Nafion to enhance adenosine detection and I developed a new waveform for fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. My research soon evolved from developing novel tools to studying the release and function of rapid adenosine signaling in the brain. I switched gears quite a bit during my post-doc, where I focused on developing microfluidic tools to locally stimulate live lymph node slices to study the importance of the spatial complexity of the immune system and to quantitate cytokine diffusion within live tissue. My current research interests are focused on developing tools to study communication between the brain and the immune system. This particular paper went back to my roots a bit. We are really interested in guanosine signaling because of its rich involvement in neuroinflammatory processes; however, detecting millisecond changes in guanosine signaling in real-time is not possible with current technology. With FSCV, we are able to explore that rapid mode of signaling.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
I am very excited about the possibility of using FSCV to study brain-immune communication. How the brain and not only its immune system but the peripheral immune system communicates is not well understood, in part due to current technology. We are excited about all the new tools we are developing in the lab to help solve this technological barrier.

In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage of the fast-scan cyclic voltammetry method for guanosine detection?
Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry has excellent temporal and spatial resolution. With this technique, we can make measurements every 100 ms within discrete regions of the brain! Because we get a cyclic voltammogram, we are able to help distinguish what we are measuring. In the case of guanosine, a rapid extracellular signaling profile exists but the current techniques in the field to study guanosine signaling do not have the temporal resolution to capture it. With FSCV, we are hoping we can learn some interesting things about guanosine signaling in the brain!

What do you find most challenging about your research?
The biology! The brain and immune system are so complex! You can develop a technique on the bench but it can fail as soon as it is put into a complex matrix like tissue. Also, it is really difficult to predict what to expect when studying complex biological systems. We make hypotheses but I tell my students to not fall in love with those ideas! Everything can change when you start making actual measurements!

How do you spend your spare time?
I am a mother of two beautiful children, 6 year old Haylee and 3 year old Elijah. My husband Ronnie and I definitely spend most of our spare time with them. My daughter is in ballet, so chauffeuring her around to ballet practice and rehearsals is fun! I also enjoy singing in my spare time. I have been singing and performing since high school so it is definitely a nice “outlet” from work!

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
I have always loved to perform whether it be in singing groups or in musicals, so probably a performer! But more realistically, maybe a paediatrician!

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?
I was given this advice and I think it is so valuable: In the early years, be in the lab with your students! When you are starting out, you are the expert and can help not only set the example in the lab but it helps foster a productive environment early on.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Peng Miao

We are delighted to introduce our latest Analyst Emerging Investigator, Peng Miao!

Dr Peng Miao received his BS and MS degrees from School of Life Sciences at Nanjing University in 2008 and 2011. Afterwards, he received his PhD degree from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Biophysics. In 2017, he became a Professor at Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers with an H-index of 21 (Web of Science), authored 15 patents and 2 books. He has received numerous awards and honours, including Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), Top 1% of Highly Cited Authors (RSC), CAS President’s Award (Chinese Academy of Sciences), and Science and Technology Award (China Association for Instrumental Analysis). His current research is focused on DNA nanotechnology based bioanalytical chemistry

 

Read Peng Miao’s Emerging Investigator Series paper “Ultrasensitive electrochemical detection of miRNA based on DNA strand displacement polymerization and Ca2+-dependent DNAzyme cleavage” and find out more about him in the interview below:

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on an ultrasensitive electrochemical biosensor for miRNA evaluation. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?
My first article is about the fabrication of an electrochemical biosensor for the detection of glutathione, which is amplified by DNA modified gold nanoparticles (Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2009, 3347). Later, I was encouraged to develop more efficient signal amplification strategies aided by bottom-up or top-down DNA assembly. After nearly ten years’ efforts, I have developed a series of ultrasensitive biosensors for the detection of different biomolecules including the most recent article, in which strand displacement polymerization and DNAzyme cleavage cycles are involved for dual amplified detection of miRNA.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
DNA is nature’s choice for storing and transmitting genetic information, which is also an excellent nanoscale material to construct bio-architectures for analytical purposes. Taking advantages of the properties like predictable Watson-Crick base pairing and addressability, bottom-up and top-down design principles can be achieved to sensitively identify targets or study molecular interactions, which are really exciting.

In your opinion, what are the most promising applications of this miRNA detection method?
This paper reported an ultrasensitive electrochemical miRNA sensing method with cascade signal amplification. It is capable of monitoring miRNA levels in cells without sample enrichment in a highly selective manner. Therefore, this method could find potential practical applications in miRNA related biological researches. It could also be used as a candidate to replace qRT-PCR for clinical diagnosis.

What do you find most challenging about your research?
The most challenge is to accurately control multiple DNA assembly events at the nano-bio interface.

How do you spend your spare time?
Playing badminton and electronic sports.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
Maybe a programmer.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?
In the early career, scientists should scrupulously choose their research areas and their research work should not be decentralized.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Yi-Lun Ying

We are delighted to introduce our first Analyst Emerging Investigator, Yi-Lun Ying!

Dr Yi-Lun Ying is the Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering at East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST). Her B. Sc in Fine Chemistry and Ph. D in Analytical Chemistry are all from the ECUST. After a doctoral exchange studying in the University of Birmingham, Dr Ying carried out her postdoctoral research on nanopores and nanoelectrodes at ECUST. Since 2016, she started her independent work as an associate professor to focus on the nanospectroelectrochemistry for revealing the heterogeneous structure-activity relationship of the single molecules at ECUST. She has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications, including Nature Nanotechnology (1), Journal of American Chemistry Society (1), Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2), CHEM (1), Chemical Science (3), Chemical Communications (11), Analytical Chemistry (8), Analyst (2) and 6 patents. The total citations of her publications exceed 860 with an H index of 16 (SCI Web of Science). She has given more than 15 oral presentations, including six invited lectures, and has served as Editor Board Member for Scientific Reports. As an active and emerging investigator in analytical chemistry, Dr Ying has received six awards and honours, including the L’Oreal-UNESCO International Rising Talents (2016) and Shanghai “Chen Guang” project (2018).

Read Yi-Lun’s Emerging Investigator series paper “A thumb-size electrochemical system for portable sensors” and find out more about her in the interview below:

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on a miniaturised, low-cost electrochemistry instrument sensor. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?
My first scientific publication is about the α-hemolysin nanopore analysis of single oligonucleotide in 2010. In the nanopore measurements, the ionic current directly converts the single molecule behaviours into the electric signals, which mainly requires the high performance electrochemical instrument and software for big data recording and analysis of the ionic current. Therefore, I was encouraged to develop our own amplifier, A/D convertor and software for the high resolution electrochemical measurements. After nearly ten years efforts, our group has designed not only high temporal-spatial resolution instrumentations for nanopore analysis, but also further applied the low-noise amplifier in achieving the thumb-size electrochemical system for portable sensors as presented in this most recent article.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
The performance of an electrochemical sensor is mainly determined by its interface, the instrumentation and analysis algorithm. To address the goal towards sensitivity, specificity, and rapidness of sensing, our group miniaturizes the sensing interface at nanoscale together with developing high-performance sensing instrumentation. These improvements exhibit strong ability for revealing the hidden heterogenous properties of the single analyte at a high throughput. This is really exciting me that strong analytical tools make you deeply understand and “see” the beauty of molecular world. At this moment, we are using our developed electrochemical sensing system to study the function-structure relationship of a redox enzyme.

In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage of this technology and how will it impact environmental monitoring?
Our paper presented a thumb-size, low cost and versatile instrument system with high accuracy and time resolution for portable electrochemical use. Based on sensors of screen printed electrode, the instrument system could be used in electro-chemical applications such as analysis of chemicals and quantitative determination of heavy metals in water. Due to the ultra-small size and low cost (< $15), this instrument system is probably the smallest and cheapest electrochemical instrument system as far as we know. It could be further used in wearable sensors for body fluid analysis, point-of-care diagnostics in local clinic, on-site environment monitoring and tools for experimental education.

What do you find most challenging about your research?
The most challenge is to bring the knowledge of chemistry, electronics, physics, big data analysis together for the comprehensive study in electrochemical analysis.

How do you spend your spare time?
Playing with my 3-year-old daughter

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?
Maybe a graphic designer

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?
I always believe that a collection of small steps will undoubtedly cover great distances

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Analyst Emerging Investigator Series

Launched in 2018, Analyst is now running an Emerging Investigator Series, featuring the best work in analytical chemistry being carried out by early career researchers. This series is ongoing, with accepted manuscripts being published in the next available issue of the journal and assembled in a high profile online collection.

 

We are committed to supporting up-and-coming scientists in the early stages of their independent careers and our Emerging Investigator Series provides a platform for early career researchers to showcase their best work to a broad audience. The ongoing series allows flexibility for contributors to participate in the venture without the restriction of submission deadlines, and will benefit the analytical chemistry community through continued exposure to the exciting work being done by its early-career members. Authors benefit from increased visibility, with individual mentions in the journal content alerts and individual feature interviews on the journal blog. Published articles in the series will be made free to access for a limited period.

 

Series Editors

The series has three international Series Editors with a broad range of expertise, representing the analytical chemistry community.

  

Laura Lechuga

Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Spain

Ryan Bailey

University of Michigan, USA

 

 Jaebum Choo

Hanyang University, South Korea

 

 

Who can be considered?

Scientists who are within five years of obtaining their first independent position can apply to have their research highlighted in the Emerging Investigators Series. Appropriate consideration will be given to career breaks and alternative career paths. The series will only feature primary research articles, highlighting the author’s research contribution to the field.

Applications in the form of a CV will be reviewed by the Editorial Office and the Emerging Investigator Series Editors. The selection criteria for the Emerging Investigators Series will be based on the following:

  • Fit of research programme to Analyst scope
  • Quality of publications, profile within institute and/or community

Articles submitted to the journal for the Series will undergo the usual peer-review process, and no guarantees of publication can be given to successful applicants.

 

Collection

Read the growing collection of articles.

 

Interested in applying?

Contact us: analyst-rsc@rsc.org

 

Follow @analystrsc on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest papers in the series.

 

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