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Astronomy technology brings nanoparticle probes into sharper focus
Date:2/19/2008

ATLANTA (February 19, 2008) While pondering the challenges of distinguishing one nano-sized probe image from another in a mass of hundreds or thousands of nanoprobes, researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University made an interesting observation. The tiny, clustered dots of light looked a lot like a starry sky on a clear night.

The biomedical researchers realized that astronomers had already made great strides in solving a problem very similar to their own isolating and analyzing one dot (in this case a star) in a crowded field of light. They hypothesized that a computer system designed for stellar photometry, a branch of astronomy focused on measuring the brightness of stars, could hold the solution to their problem.

Now, Georgia Tech and Emory researchers have created a technology based on stellar photometry software that provides more precise images of single molecules tagged with nanoprobes, particles specially designed to bind with a certain type of cell or molecule and illuminate when the target is found. The clearer images allow researchers to collect more detailed information about a single molecule, such as how the molecule is binding in a gene sequence, taking scientists a few steps closer to truly personalized and predictive medicine as well as more complex biomolecular structural mapping.

In addition to biomedical applications, the system could be used to clarify other types of nanoparticle probes, including tagged particles or molecules.

The research is detailed in this week's online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

As more powerful imaging technologies are developed, scientists face a real challenge to quantitatively analyze and interpret these new mountains of data, said May Wang, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. This PNAS paper is only a start, but I expect that in
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Contact: Megan McRainey
megan.mcrainey@comm.gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Georgia Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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