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Browse Highlights by Researcher

Each month, the OVPR highlights the past month’s sponsored research funding awarded to Tufts’ investigators, including both a list of funded awards and one or more featured project abstracts.

You can download the list of July's awardees by clicking the button below. In July, Tufts researchers were awarded over 20 awards for extramural funding from federal, foundation, and corporate sponsors.

To submit a recent award to be highlighted, please use the "nominate a project" button below.

This month's featured abstract highlights Dr. Igor Sokolov, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tufts University, who received a Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) from the National Science Foundation.

EAGER: Novel family of cellulose acetate fluorescent nanoparticles for bio imaging applications

Cellulose is one of the most abundant biocompatible materials on earth. Cellulose acetate, viscose, or artificial silk are the most technologically developed and well-characterized derivatives of cellulose, which is completely benign to humans. While various optical materials have been developed from cellulose acetate (CA), optical nanomaterials made of this cellulose derivative are nonexistent. This proposal deals with the development of the first fluorescent nanoparticles and nanofibers made of cellulose acetate (CA), that would make them potentially transformative for biomedical applications.

The project will study CA nano-optical properties then evaluate their potential as labels and sensors for biophotonic applications. Initial work demonstrated the presence of donor-acceptor coupling between encapsulated dyes. Encapsulating hydrophobic fluorescent dyes have many advantages such as exceptional photostability. These features suggest the potential of a new platform for developing a whole family of fluorescent nanoparticles and nanosensors for biomedical applications. There is a clear need to address key exploratory questions to reduce the high risk of this transformative approach. For example, photonic properties of encapsulated dyes inside of CA nanoparticles has not been studied. The role of fluorescent and functional molecules in the particle synthesis is unclear. These questions and others will be addressed in the project.