Prof. Dipanjan Pan, MS, PhD


Prof. Dipanjan Pan, MS, PhD, is an expert in nanomedicine, molecular imaging, drug delivery and biosensing. He is presently a tenured Full Professor in Diagnostic Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, Pediatrics and Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering and Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in University of Maryland Baltimore School of Medicine and University of Maryland Baltimore County. Prior to moving to Maryland, he was a tenured Associate Professor and Associate Head of the department in Bioengineering in University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prof Pan’s lab uniquely merges fundamental chemistry, biology, and engineering to bring solution to today’s healthcare problems. His research is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary centering on the development of novel materials for biomedical applications, immune-nanomedicine, and targeted therapies for stem-like cancer cell with phenotypically screened nanomedicine platforms and biosensing approaches for infectious diseases. Over the years, this research has resulted in more than 200 high impact peer reviewed publications in scientific journals, many patents and technology licensing. He is an elected fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of American Heart Association and an elected fellow of American College of Cardiology and an elected Fellow of International Association of Advanced Materials. Professor Pan is an Associate Editor for WIRES Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology (Wiley).

Keynote presentation: 
Gold Nanoparticles for Mutationally Preserved Geno-sensing of SARS-CoV-2

The global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) highlights the shortcomings of the current testing paradigm for viral disease diagnostics. Gold nanoparticles offer unique physico-chemical properties, such as plasmonic, conductive, and optoelectronic that makes them highly desirable for sensing applications. A unique set of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) has been developed to interact with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) irrespective of its ongoing mutations. The ASOs target a specific segment of nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N) gene of SARS-CoV-2 with high binding efficiency which do not mutate among any of the known variants including delta and omicron. The mechanism of interaction among the ASOs and SARS-CoV-2 RNA was then explored with a combination of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and machine learning techniques. Further probing into the interaction profile of the ASOs revealed that the ASO-RNA hybridization remained unaltered for single point mutations at the target RNA site and diminished only in case of the hypothetical double or triple point mutations. It was observed that the technique, described herein, could efficiently discriminate between clinically positive and negative samples with ~98% sensitivity and ~98% specificity of SARS-CoV-2 using various detection techniques such as plasmonic, electrochemical and hyperspectral. Our results indicated that the sensitivity of detection can reach from few copies/μL to a single virus. Thus, this study establishes N gene targeted ASOs and gold nanoparticles as the fundamental machinery to efficiently detect all the current SARS-CoV-2 variants regardless of its mutations using techniques ranging from point-of-care to laboratory-based applications.

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