Attraction of the leading scientists to Russian institutions of higher learning, research organizations of the governmental academies of sciences, and governmental research centers of the Russian Federation

Laboratory for Optical Theranostics

About the Laboratory

This laboratory was established as part of a scientific research project supported with a monetary grant awarded by the Government of the Russian Federation under a grant competition designed to provide governmental support to scientific research projects implemented under the supervision of the world's leading scientists at Russian institutions of higher learning (Resolution of the RF Government No.220 of April 9, 2010).

Link to the official website

Grant Agreement No.:

Name of the institution of higher learning:
Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod (UNN)

Fields of scientific research:
Biological Sciences

Project goal:

To organize scientific research activities within a new, relevant and rapidly growing field of medical research – theranostics*. The primary focus of the project is on optical biomedical diagnostics and therapy.

Anticipated results: 

The project seeks to create multifunctional theranostic nano-complexes selectively delivered to target cells that are able to diagnose these cells and supply them with therapeutic substances. These nano-complexes are based upon new biocompatible photo-luminescent nanoparticles (anti-Stokes nanophosphors, nanorubies) connected to highly selective steering proteins ensuring high-precision delivery of the particles to pathological sources. The scientists will develop a universal reaction of their incidental (modular) binding with photo-luminescent nanoparticles. The new complexes can be used to diagnose target cells and deliver therapeutic substances to them. The scientists will develop two optical imaging systems: an epiluminescent microscope used to visualize targeted delivery of photoluminescent theranostic complexes to cells and thin tissue sections that is sensitive enough to detect single nanophosphors and nanoruby particles, and an optical tomographic system capable of generating and registering extremely weak photoluminescence signals thereby ensuring registration of background-free images of tumor tissue marked with nanocomplexes based on antistoke nanosphophorus or nanoruby particles.
Application: this will ensure registration of background-free images of tumour tissue marked with nano-complexes based on anti-Stokes nanophosphors and nanorubies thereby helping ensure more precise diagnoses of health conditions. Different cell lines will be used to research interactions of newly constructed complexes with tumor cells. The scientists will investigate possibilities of intracellular visualization, as well as accumulation and distribution of individual nanoparticles and complexes within a single cell. They will research nonspecific and targeted cytotoxicity of all the compounds. Small laboratory animals will be used to analyze pharmacological kinetics of nanoparticles and nanocomplexes that are deemed as promising for in vivo applications. Xenograft human tumor models will be used to examine potential opportunities for utilization of newly created photoluminescent nanocomplexes in diagnostics. The scientists will create fluorescent xenograft human tumor models required for non-invasive observation of tumor growth and assessment of antitumor therapy on account of its effectiveness using optical imaging methods. Free porphyrazines or polymer particles doped with free porphyrazines will be used as potential therapeutic modules in photodynamic treatment. Having examined the compounds created in the course of the project, the scientists will identify the most promising theranostic agents that ensure highly precise action upon target cells (precision), visualization using optical methods (diagnostics), and have the ability to effectively destroy tumor cells (therapy).

Leading scientist


Full Name: Zvyagin Andrei Vasil'yevich

Link to the scientist's profile

Academic degree and title:
Doctorate Degree in Physics and Mathematics, Associated Professor

Job title:

Head of the Laboratory "BIOMEDICAL OPTICAL IMAGING AND SENSING, Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia)

Field of scientific interests:

Biophotonics and nanotechnologies: designing the key principles of biomedical optical imaging of biological systems using nanotechnological solutions.

Scientific Recognition: 

The leading scientist used innovative photo-luminescent nanomaterials for optical intracellular imaging. He was the first to demonstrate how discrete fluorescent nanodiamonds and nanorubies could be used in the capacity of bio-molecular probes (2010). He designed a full-scale platform for production and assembly of a nanoparticle biocomplex by binding biomolecules to modified surfaces of nanoparticles. He demonstrated the great promise of these complexes for high-precision delivery of therapeutic substances to target cells (2009). He conducted visualization and quantitative assessment of penetration of nanoparticles into biological tissues, particularly, into skin, using advanced optical imaging solutions. He also demonstrated the prospects of supersensitive registration of solitary biological molecules using new photo-luminescent molecular probes based on anti-Stokes nanophosphors and nanorubies. He demonstrated that it was possible to visualize solitary nanophosphors with a naked eye. This discovery is extremely important for application in medicine when diagnosing tissue pathologies.

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