Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have been awarded an $11.5 million grant in development of nanotechnology for use in cardiovascular research.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) made the grant.

The focus of the research is to develop advanced nanotechnologies for analysis of plaque formation on the molecular level and to detect plaque at its early stages, Tech said in a statement.

Plaques can clog arteries, leading to heart attack and stroke.
Gang Bao, a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, will lead the effort. In all, 12 faculty members at the two institutions will be involved.

The researchers plan to use three types of nano probes called molecular beacons, semiconductor quantom dots and magnetic nanoparticles.

“With molecular beacons, we hope to follow the dynamics of gene expression in normal and diseased cells,” Bao said in a statement. “We can find out how quickly these genes are being turned on and how the expression levels are correlated with factors contributing to early plaque formation.”

Georgia Tech: