Ching Tung Professor of Chemistry in Radiology

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Our research focuses on developing novel multi-functional molecules for imaging, diagnostic, therapeutic, and biotechnological applications. We specialize in environmentally sensitive molecules that respond to biological and chemical changes during disease progression. The use of the developed molecular imaging probes, drugs, and vectors have been applied to manage various types of diseases, including cancer, inflammation, infection, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.

Major platform technologies include:

1. Enzyme activation system

Enzymes involved in disease associated pathophysiologic processes are ideal targets for molecular imaging and treatment. Knowing their activities will provide valuable information in diagnosis, detection, and disease management. Enzyme sensitive probes or drugs are designed with “molecular switches” that can only be turned on by intended biological targets. Thereby resulting in a significant change of property, such as: fluorescence, absorbance, magnetic relaxation or toxicity.

2. Fluorescence chemistry

In recent years, fluorescence imagining technology has been widely applied in studying molecular targets in various biological systems, and guiding surgical procedures. Fluorescence reporters with favorable optical properties are key components in all applications. Hence, we developed novel fluorochromes with a superior physical/chemical property and biocompatibility. Responsive fluorogenic reporters are particularly interesting to us. Organic and inorganic fluorochromes with different reactivities have been developed.

3. Targeted delivery

Effective drug delivery is an essential element to achieve a preferred medical outcome. Appropriated delivery vehicles are needed to transport drugs to various sites and targets, such as specific organs, tissues, subcellular compartments, and biomolecules. We are interested in developing an innovative delivery and are targeting vectors to overcome biological barriers by engineering natural and synthetic biomolecules. Promising vectors have been applied to deliver drugs, genes, and imaging probes.

4. Nanotechnology

Our recent progresses in nano-medicine research have created a new wave of medical innovation in medical diagnosis and treatment. We have designed a series of nano-molecules equipped with multiple functionalities by integrating our expertise in delivery, enzyme-assisted activation systems and bio-conjugations. These nano-medicines, which are guided by a build-in navigation system, could report abnormalities in their early stages, treat disease, direct surgical operation, and monitor treatment efficacy.

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Primary Affiliation

  • Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University