Past Event

Bent Lecture 2023, Presented by Prof. Jennifer Dionne

April 7, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
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Havemeyer 209

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Emerging nanophotonic platforms for personal and population health

Read more about Prof. Dionne here
Hosted by Prof. Milan Delor




We present our efforts to develop photonic sensors suitable for field-deployment that enable early disease onset, help inform optimal treatment, and uncover new biological pathways associated with personal, population, and ecosystem-level health. First, we combine Raman spectroscopy and deep learning to accurately classify bacteria by both species and drug susceptibility in a single step. With a convolutional neural network (CNN), we achieve species identification and antibiotic susceptibility accuracies similar to leading mass spectrometry techniques. We show how this technique can be applied to rapid tuberculosis detection, as well as to waste-water monitoring of bacterial pathogens. Next, we describe resonant nanophotonic surfaces that enable detection of genes, proteins, and metabolites with femtomolar sensitivity. These metasurfaces produce a large amplification of the electromagnetic field intensity, increasing the response to minute refractive index changes from target binding; simultaneously, the light is beam-steered to particular detector pixels. By combining metasurface design with acoustic bioprinting for functionalization, we develop chips that detect gene fragments, proteins, and metabolites on the same platform. We discuss integration of these sensors with workflows in Stanford’s Clinical Virology Laboratory, as well as with autonomous underwater robots from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) for real-time phytoplankton detection. 



Jennifer Dionne is the Senior Associate Vice Provost of Research Platforms/Shared Facilities at Stanford, and an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering and, by courtesy, of Radiology. She is also a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, an Associate Editor of Nano Letters, and director of the DOE-funded Photonics at Thermodynamic Limits Energy Frontier Research Center. Jen received her B.S. degrees in Physics and Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis, her Ph. D. in Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology in 2009, and her postdoctoral training in Chemistry at Berkeley.  As a pioneer of nanophotonics, she is passionate about developing methods to observe and control chemical and biological processes as they unfold with nanometer scale resolution, emphasizing critical challenges in global health and sustainability. Her research has developed culture-free methods to detect pathogens and their antibiotic susceptibility; amplification-free methods to detect nucleic acids and proteins; and new methods to image light-driven chemical reactions with atomic-scale resolution.  Her work has been recognized with the Alan T. Waterman Award, a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a Moore Inventor Fellowship, the Materials Research Society Young Investigator Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and was featured on Oprah’s list of “50 Things that will make you say ‘Wow’!”.  Jen is passionate about translating scientific inventions to commercial innovations, and is co-founder of Pumpkinseed, a company enabling life-speed reads of biological bits. She also perceives outreach as a critical component of her role and frequently collaborates with visual and performing artists to convey the beauty of science to the broader public. Beyond the lab, Jen enjoys long-distance cycling, trail running, and reliving her childhood with her two young sons.

Contact Information

(212) 854-2202