Prof. Fiorenzo Vetrone: Multi-Functional Luminescent Nanoparticles for Applications in Nanomedicine

Mar 11, 2011
Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 1200, Dr. Penfield avenue, Montreal

6.30 pm


The marriage of nanotechnology to biology and medicine has resulted in a compelling and synergistic relationship with the potential to revolutionize patient care. Nanomedicine is exploiting materials at the nanometer scale (one billionth of a meter), which are proving to be versatile and powerful tools and are slated to bring forth much advancement in key areas such as diagnostics and therapeutics. At the forefront of this research are luminescent nanoparticles that are currently being investigated for a myriad of applications. However, most of these nanoparticles rely on a UV-excitation paradigm leading to serious limitations and potential photo-induced damage of biological species. In this context, excitation with near-infrared light is far more advantageous as it poses less harm to biological specimens, possesses greater tissue penetration capabilities, and will not lead to autofluorescence from fluorescent species in the media. This presentation will focus on two-photon excited nanoparticles, from their preparation to eventual use in a multi-functional nano-platform targeted for disease treatment. Current diagnostic techniques require the patient to undergo a battery of tests with treatment options being highly invasive, causing severe patient discomfort and a significant strain on the healthcare system. It is envisioned that a multi-functional nano-platform possessing several modalities would prove to be an invaluable arsenal in the fight against many of the common illnesses plaguing our population. For example, a single-platform multi-functional nanoparticle excited with near-infrared light would be capable of targeting a diseased area of the body, harvesting valuable diagnostic information, as well as offering a therapeutic possibility for in situ treatments of diseases including cancer.

Prof. Fiorenzo Vetrone received his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) where his research focused on the synthesis and spectroscopy of luminescent lanthanide-doped nanoparticles. Following his Ph.D. studies, he was the recipient of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship, which he took up at Université du Québec, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique – Énergie, Matériaux et Télécommunications (INRS-EMT). He was involved in implementing nanotechnology-based strategies to investigate titanium-based biomaterials with the ultimate goal of using nanotopography to control cell-biomaterial interactions for the next generation of orthopedic and cardiovascular implants. He returned to Concordia University as a Research Associate to initiate a project on the synthesis of new upconverting nanoparticles and their implementation in biological imaging. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Nanobiotechnology at Université du Québec, INRS-EMT in Varennes, Canada where his research activities are focused around the development of multi-photon excited luminescent nanoparticles for diagnostic and therapeutics of various diseases including cancer. Prof. Vetrone has received numerous prizes and awards from IUPAC, NSERC, the Royal Society (UK) as well as the Gladiatore D’Oro from the province of Benevento (Italy) awarded to persons who have brought honor to the Samnite people in the fields of business, scientific research, culture, art, and sports. The impact of his work has been highlighted in both the scientific and popular press and has been invited to present his research findings at conferences worldwide. Prof. Vetrone has co-authored approximately 50 papers in prestigious international journals and has been cited nearly 1400 times.

The seminar will start at 6.30 pm.

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