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Weill Cornell science briefs: November 2009
Date:11/19/2009

Dr. Samie Jaffrey Receives Competitive NIH Director's T-R01 Award
Speedier Lab Testing With Results That Glow in the Dark

Dr. Samie Jaffrey, associate professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College, is among the first researchers to win a prestigious NIH Director's Transformative R01 award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Jaffrey and his colleagues are developing innovative protein recognition technologies that may some day speed up lab testing by instantaneously measuring proteins within biological samples.

Protein detection is essential for diagnosing illnesses, detecting environmental toxins, and for most types of biomedical research. Protein detection typically takes hours or days, and requires antibodies that specifically bind these proteins. Specialized techniques are required to transform the binding of these antibodies into signals that detect the presence of these proteins. Dr. Jaffrey and his lab are developing new protein recognition tools that rapidly emit light upon binding specific target proteins. These simplified protein sensors have the potential to vastly simplify and reduce the expense of protein detection.

Dr. Jaffrey has been developing sensors from RNA, a natural bio-molecule that has the capacity to adopt a variety of shapes. By designing these molecules that are complementary to proteins, RNA can form complexes with specific target proteins. The RNAs are designed to bind fluorescent compounds after forming complexes with proteins. If the RNA binds to the complementary target protein in a urine, blood, or tissue sample, the sample glows green, which indicates a positive presence of the targeted protein.

"The ability to simply add a sensor to a biological sample, and monitor the level of a given protein in minutes, would allow clinical diagnosis and medical decision making to occur much more rapidly," explains Dr. Jaffrey. "A big advantage is speed. The current tests
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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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