Host: Professor Khaled Salama & Professor Sahika Inal
The availability of technologies capable of tracking the levels of drugs, metabolites, and biomarkers in real time in the living body would revolutionize our understanding of health and our ability to detect and treat disease. Imagine, for example, a dosing regimen that, rather than relying on your watch ("take two pills twice a day"), is instead guided by second-to-second measurements of plasma drug levels wirelessly communicated to your smartphone. Such a technology would likewise provide researchers and clinicians an unprecedented window into physiology, such as neurochemistry, and could even support ultra-high-precision personalized medicine in which drug dosing is optimized minute-by-minute using closed-loop feedback control. Towards this goal, we have developed a biomimetic,electrochemical sensing platform that supports the high frequency, real-time measurement of specific molecules (irrespective of their chemical reactivity) in situ in the blood and tissues of awake, freely moving subjects.
Kevin Plaxco is a Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with appointments in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Biomolecular Science and Engineering Graduate Program, and the Biological Engineering Graduate Program. Prior to joining UCSB in 1998 Dr. Plaxco received his Ph.D. from Caltech and performed postdoctoral studies at Oxford and the University of Washington. Dr. Plaxco's research focus is on the physics of biomolecular folding and its engineering applications. A major aim of the group's applied research is to harness the speed and specificity of folding in the development of sensors, adaptable surfaces, and smart materials. Dr. Plaxco has co-authored more than 230 papers and a dozen patents on protein folding, protein dynamics, and folding-based sensors, and is recognized by Thomson Reuters as one of the most highly cited chemists of the prior decade. He serves on the scientific boards of a half dozen biotechnology firms, several of which are commercializing technologies developed by his group, and has also written a popular science book on Astrobiology.