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Fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs) are biocompatible particles with indefinite photo-stability that have emerged as promising bioimaging probes. FNDs with negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy (NV-) centers are superior imaging probes because they do not photobleach or blink, have a high quantum yield, large Stokes’ shift, long fluorescence lifetimes, and fluorescence emission that can be modulated by magnetic fields to improve signal:noise >100x. Their broad fluorescence emission in the near infrared region (λmax = 685 nm) can penetrate into the tissue with limited background signal from autofluorescence. Results from the development of FNDs with specific terminal groups and bioconjugation chemistries for various in vitro and in vivo imaging applications will be presented. Bikanta’s probes (1) remain monodisperse and stable in liquid suspension unlike conventional nanodiamonds that aggregate into clusters, and (2) rather than having the typical unreactive surface, can be tightly bound to any targeting agent (e.g. aptamers, antibodies) and can therefore be tailored to detect specific diseases. Bikanta is also designing novel imaging instrumentation to improve detection capabilities. Nanodiamonds are exquisitely sensitive to magnetic fields and this sensitivity reduces background noise to improve visualization deeper into the body. Early results have already improved signal 100-fold over current methods. Bikanta illustrates the unique features and potential uses of FNDs from single molecule to in vivo imaging with several applications: (1) high spatial and temporal resolution 3-D tracking over extended periods of time, (2) as stable fiducial markers for ultra high resolution microscopy across multiple wavelengths, (3) cell and generation tracking, (4) immunohistochemistry labeling, (5) tumor uptake, and (6) wide-field background-free imaging through magnetic modulation to image lymph node through tissue. Discussion will also include applications for dermatology.

Ambika's Bio
CEO of Bikanta, Dr. Ambika Bumb area of interest is nanomedicine, the application of nanotechnology for medical diagnostics and treatment. She graduated from Georgia Tech with a B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering and a Minor in Economics, while being recognized with the Helen E. Grenga Outstanding Woman Engineer and E. Jo Baker President’s Scholar Awards. She then obtained her doctorate from Oxford while on the prestigious Marshall Scholarship and followed that up with two post-doctoral fellowships at the National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. She has received much recognition for excellence in engineering and was profiled early in her career in Nature as a successful young scientist on the fast-track. Her endeavors in the areas of nanomedicine and diagnostics have led to multiple patents, publications, and the spin out of the biotech Bikanta that is using nanodiamonds to allow academics and doctors to study and address disease at the cellular level. Nanodiamonds are next generation imaging probes trailblazing cutting-edge research including applications with the recent Nobel Prize in Chemistry for super-resolved fluorescence microscopy and utility in portable cancer detection devices. Bikanta is one of the first biotechs to be funded by Y Combinator, winner of the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture and CapCon Competitions, a BayBio’s FAST Awardee, and named 1 of 4 Best Diagnostics Startups of 2015 by QB3. Complementary to her scientific and commercial interests, Ambika has also been involved in national science policy initiatives, particularly related to nanotechnology.

Min's Bio
Min Wang is a nanoengineer at Bikanta Corporation. She holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University where she studied protein aggregation and the role of protein morphologies in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. She went on to complete two postdoctoral appointments at the University of Colorado-Denver and the University of California, Davis where she was introduced to nanotechnology and optical imaging. After a long day at work, Min unwinds by running the trails in the Berkeley hills and she regularly participates in local trail running and ultramarathon events.