Mason researcher Alessandra Luchini is brilliant. No, really—it’s been confirmed by one of the country’s largest science magazines, Popular Science.
In its October 2011 issue, the magazine named the top scientists under the age of 40 whom they dubbed the “Brilliant 10.” Luchini learned in 2010 that she had been selected for her work with Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM).
In 2008, Luchini and a team of CAPMM researchers introduced a new nanotechnology involving nanoparticles that looks at specific protein biomarkers in blood or urine to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases.
The nanoparticles capture, concentrate, and preserve cancer and other disease markers in a single step. They are added to blood or urine to catch the disease biomarkers, similar to how a lobster trap catches lobsters.
Luchini’s breakthrough technology, which is still in the research and development phase, has been used in several different clinical tests over the past few years, and the results are promising.
“Dr. Luchini’s nanoparticles have revolutionary potential to improve the diagnosis of early-stage cancer and infectious disease,” says Lance Liotta, codirector of CAPMM who nominated Luchini for the award. “This could reduce suffering and death for millions.”
—Leah Kerkman Fogarty