Tuan Vo-Dinh

Overview:

Dr. Tuan Vo-Dinh is R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, and Director of The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics.

Dr. Vo-Dinh’s research activities and interests involve biophotonics, nanophotonics, plasmonics, laser-excited luminescence spectroscopy, room temperature phosphorimetry, synchronous luminescence spectroscopy, and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for multi-modality bioimaging, and theranostics (diagnostics and therapy) of diseases such as cancer and infectious diseases.

We have pioneered the development of a new generation of gene biosensing probes using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) detection with “Molecular Sentinels” and Plasmonic Coupling Interference (PCI) molecular probes for multiplex and label-free detection of nucleic acid biomarkers (DNA, mRNA, microRNA) in early detection of a wide variety of diseases.

In genomic and precision medicine, nucleic acid-based molecular diagnosis is of paramount importance with many advantages such as high specificity, high sensitivity, serotyping capability, and mutation detection. Using SERS-based plasmonic nanobiosensors and nanochips, we are developing novel nucleic acid detection methods that can be integrated into lab-on-a-chip systems for point-of-care diagnosis  (e.g., breast, GI cancer) and global health applications (e.g., detection of malaria and dengue).

In bioimaging, we are developing a novel multifunctional gold nanostar (GNS) probe for use in multi-modality bioimaging in pre-operative scans with PET, MRI and CT, intraoperative margin delineation with optical imaging, SERS and two-photon luminescence (TPL). The GNS can be used also for cancer treatment with plasmonics enhanced photothermal therapy (PTT), thus providing an excellent platform for seamless diagnostics and therapy (i.e., theranostics). Preclinical studies have shown its great potential for cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for future clinical translation.

For fundamental studies, various nanobiosensors are being developed for monitoring intracellular parameters (e.g., pH) and biomolecular processes (e.g., apoptosis, caspases), opening the possibility for fundamental molecular biological research as well as biomedical applications (e.g., drug discovery) at the single cell level in a systems biology approach. For point of care diagnostics, nanoprobes and nanochips with highly multiplex SERS detection and imaging use artificial intelligence and machine learning for data analysis.

Our research activities in immunotherapy involve unique plasmonics-active gold “nanostars.” These star-shaped nanobodies made of gold work like “lightning rods,” concentrating the electromagnetic energy at their tips and allowing them to capture photon energy more efficiently when irradiated by laser light. Teaming with medical collaborators, we have developed a novel cancer treatment modality, called synergistic immuno photothermal nanotherapy (SYMPHONY), which combines immune-checkpoint inhibition and gold nanostar–mediated photothermal immunotherapy that can unleash the immunotherapeutic efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors. This combination treatment can eradicate the primary tumors as well as distant “untreated” tumors, and induce immunologic memory like a “anti-cancer vaccine” effect in murine model.

Positions:

R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering

Professor in the Department of Chemistry

Chemistry
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Nicholas Institute-Energy Initiative
Institutes and Provost's Academic Units

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Duke Cancer Institute
School of Medicine

Education:

B.S. 1971

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-EPFL Lausanne (Switzerland)

Ph.D. 1975

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology-ETH Zurich (Switzerland)

Grants:

Nanoplasmonics-based molecular analysis tool for molecular biomarkers of cancer

Administered By
Biomedical Engineering
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Plasmonics-Active SERS Nanoplatforms for In Vivo Diagnostics

Administered By
Biomedical Engineering
Awarded By
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Nanoplatform for Tracking Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Migration

Awarded By
Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
Role
Collaborator
Start Date
End Date

Plasmonic nanoparticle-mediated immunotherapy to treat metastatic cancer

Administered By
Biomedical Engineering
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Synergistic Immuno-Photo-Nanotherapy for Bladder Cancer

Awarded By
Department of Defense
Role
Co Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Publications:

OSCA1 is an osmotic specific sensor: a method to distinguish Ca<sup>2+</sup> -mediated osmotic and ionic perception.

Genetic mutants defective in stimulus-induced Ca<sup>2+</sup> increases have been gradually isolated, allowing the identification of cell-surface sensors/receptors, such as the osmosensor OSCA1. However, determining the Ca<sup>2+</sup> -signaling specificity to various stimuli in these mutants remains a challenge. For instance, less is known about the exact selectivity between osmotic and ionic stresses in the osca1 mutant. Here, we have developed a method to distinguish the osmotic and ionic effects by analyzing Ca<sup>2+</sup> increases, and demonstrated that osca1 is impaired primarily in Ca<sup>2+</sup> increases induced by the osmotic but not ionic stress. We recorded Ca<sup>2+</sup> increases induced by sorbitol (osmotic effect, OE) and NaCl/CaCl<sub>2</sub> (OE + ionic effect, IE) in Arabidopsis wild-type and osca1 seedlings. We assumed the NaCl/CaCl<sub>2</sub> total effect (TE) = OE + IE, then developed procedures for Ca<sup>2+</sup> imaging, image analysis and mathematic fitting/modeling, and found osca1 defects mainly in OE. The osmotic specificity of osca1 suggests that osmotic and ionic perceptions are independent. The precise estimation of these two stress effects is applicable not only to new Ca<sup>2+</sup> -signaling mutants with distinct stimulus specificity but also the complex Ca<sup>2+</sup> signaling crosstalk among multiple concurrent stresses that occur naturally, and will enable us to specifically fine tune multiple signal pathways to improve crop yields.
Authors
Pei, S; Liu, Y; Li, W; Krichilsky, B; Dai, S; Wang, Y; Wang, X; Johnson, DM; Crawford, BM; Swift, GB; Vo-Dinh, T; Pei, Z-M; Yuan, F
MLA Citation
Pei, Songyu, et al. “OSCA1 is an osmotic specific sensor: a method to distinguish Ca2+ -mediated osmotic and ionic perception.The New Phytologist, vol. 235, no. 4, Aug. 2022, pp. 1665–78. Epmc, doi:10.1111/nph.18217.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1520325
PMID
35527515
Source
epmc
Published In
The New Phytologist
Volume
235
Published Date
Start Page
1665
End Page
1678
DOI
10.1111/nph.18217

Ultra-high SERS detection of consumable coloring agents using plasmonic gold nanostars with high aspect-ratio spikes.

Solution-based SERS detection by using a portable Raman instrument has emerged as an important tool due to its simplicity, and flexibility for rapid and on-site screening of analyte molecules. However, this method has several shortcomings, including poor sensitivity especially for weak-affinity analyte molecules, where there is no close contact between the plasmonic metal surface and analyte molecule. Examples of weak-affinity molecules include pigment molecules that are commonly used as a consumable coloring agent, such as allura red (AR), and sunset yellow (SY). As high consumption of colorant agents has been shown to cause adverse effects on human health, there is a strong need to develop a simple and practical sensing system with high sensitivity for these agents. Here we present a novel, highly sensitive solution-based SERS detection method for AR, and SY by using CTAC capped gold nanostars (GNS) having different aspect ratios (GNS-2, GNS-4, and GNS-5) without utilizing any aggregating agents which can enhance SERS signal however it reduces batch to batch reproducibility. The influence of the aspect ratio of GNS on SERS properties was investigated. We have achieved a limit of detection (LOD) of AR and SY as low as 0.5 and 1 ppb, respectively by using GNS-5 with the advantages of minimal sample preparation by just mixing the analyte solution into a well plate containing GNS solution. In addition, excellent colloidal stability and reproducibility have further enhanced the applicability in real-world samples. Overall, our results evidence that the solution-based SERS detection platform using high aspect-ratio GNS can be applied for practical application to detect pigment molecules in real samples with satisfactory results.
Authors
Atta, S; Watcharawittayakul, T; Vo-Dinh, T
MLA Citation
Atta, Supriya, et al. “Ultra-high SERS detection of consumable coloring agents using plasmonic gold nanostars with high aspect-ratio spikes.The Analyst, vol. 147, no. 14, July 2022, pp. 3340–49. Epmc, doi:10.1039/d2an00794k.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1525461
PMID
35762677
Source
epmc
Published In
The Analyst
Volume
147
Published Date
Start Page
3340
End Page
3349
DOI
10.1039/d2an00794k

In vivo SERS monitoring in plants using plasmonic nanoprobes

Plant biotechnology and biofuel research is critical in addressing increasing global demands for energy. Further understanding of biomass producing associated metabolic pathways in plants can be used to exploit and increase the production of biomass for energy purposes. In vivo detection of biomarkers associated with plant growth for bioenergy has proved to be limited due to complex sample preparation required by traditional methods. In addition, genetic transformation and biomolecule monitoring inside plant cells is regulated by diameter and size exclusion limits of the plant cell wall (5 - 20 nm). Currently limited methods exist for enabling direct entry into plant cells. Moreover, these methods, such as biolistic particle delivery and electroporation use mechanical force that causes damages to the plant tissue. Nanoparticles could serve as promising platforms for probes to characterize intercellular and intracellular plant biomarkers and pathways. Bi-metallic nanostars are a plasmonics-active nanoplatform capable of high surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) which can enter plant cells and have the future potential for nucleic acid sensing. Imaging technologies such as SERS mapping, confocal imaging, X-ray fluorescence imaging, multi-photon imaging, and transmission electron microscopy have been utilized to determine the compartmentalization and location of the SERS iMS biosensors inside Arabidopsis plants.
Authors
Cupil-Garcia, V; Li, JQ; Odion, R; Strobbia, P; Crawford, BM; Wang, HN; Hu, J; Zentella, R; Kemner, KM; Sun, TP; Vo-Dinh, T
MLA Citation
Cupil-Garcia, V., et al. “In vivo SERS monitoring in plants using plasmonic nanoprobes.” Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging  Proceedings of Spie, vol. 11978, 2022. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.2617364.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1524265
Source
scopus
Published In
Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging Proceedings of Spie
Volume
11978
Published Date
DOI
10.1117/12.2617364

Analysis of SERS spectra of plasmonic nanoprobes for multiplexed biomarker detection using machine learning

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has wide applications in chemical and biosensing as well as imaging. Raman spectra obtained from SERS exhibit characteristic narrow peaks that allow higher degrees of multiplexing than possible with fluorescence imaging. The nanorattle is a bimetallic nanoparticle which can be loaded with different dyes to produce SERS for multiplexed mRNA detection assays and in vivo imaging. But as multiplexing degree increases, so does spectral complexity, making analysis difficult. Machine learning has been applied for SERS-based chemical recognition and quantification. However, multiplexed, assays using SERS labels or imaging using SERS-labeled materials rarely utilize machine learning. Since the spectral shapes of each multiplexed label is known, analysis is easy when multiplexing <4 dyes given the computational tradeoff. Here we demonstrate and compare the use of spectral decomposition, support vector regression, and convolutional neural network (CNN) for "spectral unmixing"of SERS spectra obtained from a highly multiplexed mixture of 7 SERS-active nanorattles. Training data was simulated by combining individual nanorattle spectra by linear scaling and addition. We show that CNN performed the best in determining relative contributions of each distinct dye-loaded nanorattle.
Authors
Li, JQ; Vo-Dinh, T
MLA Citation
Li, J. Q., and T. Vo-Dinh. “Analysis of SERS spectra of plasmonic nanoprobes for multiplexed biomarker detection using machine learning.” Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging  Proceedings of Spie, vol. 11978, 2022. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.2617363.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1524306
Source
scopus
Published In
Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging Proceedings of Spie
Volume
11978
Published Date
DOI
10.1117/12.2617363

Smartphone-Based Device for Colorimetric Detection of MicroRNA Biomarkers Using Nanoparticle-Based Assay.

The detection of microRNAs (miRNAs) is emerging as a clinically important tool for the non-invasive detection of a wide variety of diseases ranging from cancers and cardiovascular illnesses to infectious diseases. Over the years, miRNA detection schemes have become accessible to clinicians, but they still require sophisticated and bulky laboratory equipment and trained personnel to operate. The exceptional computing ability and ease of use of modern smartphones coupled with fieldable optical detection technologies can provide a useful and portable alternative to these laboratory systems. Herein, we present the development of a smartphone-based device called Krometriks, which is capable of simple and rapid colorimetric detection of microRNA (miRNAs) using a nanoparticle-based assay. The device consists of a smartphone, a 3D printed accessory, and a custom-built dedicated mobile app. We illustrate the utility of Krometriks for the detection of an important miRNA disease biomarker, miR-21, using a nanoplasmonics-based assay developed by our group. We show that Krometriks can detect miRNA down to nanomolar concentrations with detection results comparable to a laboratory-based benchtop spectrophotometer. With slight changes to the accessory design, Krometriks can be made compatible with different types of smartphone models and specifications. Thus, the Krometriks device offers a practical colorimetric platform that has the potential to provide accessible and affordable miRNA diagnostics for point-of-care and field applications in low-resource settings.
Authors
Krishnan, T; Wang, H-N; Vo-Dinh, T
MLA Citation
Krishnan, Tushar, et al. “Smartphone-Based Device for Colorimetric Detection of MicroRNA Biomarkers Using Nanoparticle-Based Assay.Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), vol. 21, no. 23, Dec. 2021, p. 8044. Epmc, doi:10.3390/s21238044.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1503321
PMID
34884049
Source
epmc
Published In
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Volume
21
Published Date
Start Page
8044
DOI
10.3390/s21238044