BIOE Seminar: Designing Optically Active Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Biomedical Applications

Friday, December 8, 2023
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
A. James Clark Hall, Room #2121
Katharina Maisel

Dr. Allison Dennis 
Northeastern University 
Associate Professor 

Designing Optically Active Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Biomedical Applications


Although the unique optoelectronic properties of semiconductor nanoparticle quantum dots (QDs) enable a variety of commercial products including display technology, solid state lighting, and photovoltaics, different design criteria need to be considered to use these nanoparticles in biomedical devices. Here, I will discuss how we tailor the composition and optical properties of QDs for a variety of biosensing and bioimaging applications. For example, I’ll describe how we use bright red and green emitting QDs in a rapid, instrument-free assay to detect small molecules such as antibiotics in complex water samples and use near infrared and shortwave infrared emitters to improve the clarity and resolution of in vivo imaging in mice. Finally, I’ll describe how biodegradable and biocompatible plasmonic semiconductor nanoparticles could be used to overcome barriers to clinical translation for photoaccoustic imaging and photothermal therapy applications. Notably, the efforts to remove heavy metals from the nanoparticle composition also reduces the environmental impact of QDs developed for energy applications. By carefully considering material properties and engineering design choices, we develop semiconductor nanoparticles for a wide variety of applications.

Speaker Bio

Prof. Allison Dennis uses a materials science approach to developing semiconductor nanoparticles for biomedical imaging and biosensing applications. In particular, the Dennis Lab develops antibody-free fluorescence assays for small molecule analyte quantification and is developing contrast agents for multiplexed tissue depth imaging and in vivo sensing. She is a former Fulbright Scholar, Scialog: Advancing Bioimaging Fellow, and MAVEN Fellow. Prof. Dennis is an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University. She performed postdoc training under Dr. Jennifer Hollingsworth at Los Alamos National Lab, earned her PhD in Bioengineering with Prof. Gang Bao at Georgia Tech, conducted research at the University of Regensburg with Prof. Achim Göpferich as a Fulbright Scholar, and earned a B.S. in Bioengineering and B.A. in German from Rice University.

Audience: Clark School  Graduate  Faculty 

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