Gang Bao applies nanotechnology to the tiny world of genes and proteins.
Bao, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, uses molecular beacons, nano-sized biomarkers that seek out certain disease-indicating genes and glow when they find them, to create new methods for early disease detection, imaging and drug delivery.
These beacons can be used to detect disease in its earliest stages and give doctors a much better understanding of how genes contribute to illness. Because the dots glow with a spectrum of bright, fluorescent colors, it is hoped they will improve the sensitivity of diagnostic tests for molecules that are difficult to detect, such as those in cancer cells.
A Georgia Tech and Emory University research group lead by Bao was recently awarded $11.5 million to establish a new program focused on creating advanced nanotechnologies to analyze plaque formation on the molecular level and detect plaque at its early stages. The group will study ways to use molecular beacons and other nano-sized markers to predict and study cardiovascular disease by detecting minute amounts of plaque along artery walls and even cells that may eventually foster plaque buildup.
Bao received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering at Shandong Polytechnic University, his master's in applied mechanics at Shandong Polytechnic University and his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Lehigh University.