Laura Fabris


“Gold Nanoparticles to Probe Intracellular Events”


Dr. Laura Fabris is an Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rutgers University. Prior to joining Rutgers in 2009, she was a post doc in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Fabris earned both her B.S./M.S. and Doctorate Degrees in Chemistry from the University of Padova, Italy. Her independent research aims at rationally designing plasmonic nanomaterials, employing both experimental and computational approaches, to address biologically- and medically-relevant questions and, most recently, to design efficient nanostructured photocatalysts.


Plasmonic nanostructures are well-known as effective substrates for applications in which near field enhancements are sought. In particular, we have shown that gold nanoparticles can be employed to carry out identification of U87 glioblastoma cells with surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), by targeting overexpressed aVb3 integrins via RGD peptides. However, gold nanostars have been shown to lead to much higher field enhancements, owing to their uniquely sharp protruding spikes. In particular, we have shown how they can be employed to build sensing platforms for the direct identification of small molecule analytes by SERS achieving femtomolar limits of detection.  We have also demonstrated how gold nanostars can be tethered to rigid substrates and conjugated in situ to aptamers for targeting and recognition of prostate cancer cells and enable the quantification of cancer cell biomarkers at the single cell level. In this talk I will also present how SERS-based quantification of prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a promising biomarker for prostate cancer diagnosis, enables discrete patient stratification. Most importantly, I will show how gold nanostars were used for the first time for the identification of influenza virus mutations in individual intact cells with no interference from protein corona.