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One of the goals of modern bioanalytical chemistry is the simultaneous (multiplexed) detection of multiple biomarkers in individual cells. Biomarkers are defined as characteristic proteins, genes, or small molecules that can be measured and evaluated as indicators of normal biological or pathological state of a cell. Mass cytometry is a recently developed technique developed by Fluidigm Inc to detect multiple biomarkers. Detecting fewer number of biomarker copies is essential because we can identify for instance a cancer causing biomarker at an early stage. This is important for detecting diseases in their early stage of development. The current reagents (polymers-metal tags) used in mass cytometry do not have the sensitivity to perform the task of detecting fewer number of biomarker copies. To achieve this task we plan to employ nanoparticles (the size of a nanoparticle is a million times smaller than the thickness of single human hair) which will have a much higher sensitivity when compared to current reagents. Once this reagent is developed the company will be able to sell them in the market for research purposes. The intern will learn a great deal about mass cytometry and different biological functions and cancer causing biomarkers in cells.
Jothir Mayanantham Pichaandi
University of Toronto
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