Raoul Kopelman

Richard Smalley Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Applied Physics
Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Research Scientist, Biophysics Research Division

Ph.D., Columbia University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University and Caltech

Research Focus: Biomedical Nanosensors and Actuators

Phone: 734.764.7541
E-mail: kopelman@umich.edu
Fax: 734.936.2778

Our group includes PhD and postdoctoral students in Chemical Biology, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Neuro-toxicology, Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Physics and Applied Physics. The emphasis is on Nanoscience, Nanoengineering, and Nanomedicine in the sense of making nano-devices that may play the role of cancer drugs, intracellular diagnostic assays or nanotools for biochemical and biophysical research. For instance, a mitochondrial permeability transition and/or a change in the cross-membrane potential may occur due to a proteomic process triggered by a toxin. To study this in a single live cell we may use nanoprobes that image the local calcium or other ion distribution, map the electric field, the viscosity and/or the local metabolic processes. Similarly, the firing of neurons may be studied by measuring electric fields, NO, oxygen or zinc fluxes. A typical challenge may concern the design and fabrication of nanoparticles with the right components, consisting of organic, inorganic and biological ingredients put together for a specific task and delivery method.
Our lab has produced the world's smallest light sources and the smallest and fastest biochemical sensors, based on nanoparticles and called "nanopebbles." This enables optical, spectral and chemical imaging on a nanometer scale. Novel fiber-optic and nano-sphere sensors (for pH, calcium, zinc, potassium, sodium, magnesium, copper, iron, chloride, nitrite, oxygen, nitric oxide, glucose and reactive oxygen species) reduce the required sample volume as well as the detection limit a billion-fold, and simultaneously the response time by a factor of a thousand. These sensors have been used to monitor biological processes, such as organogenesis in live rat-embryos, as well as pathogenic processes due to chemical pollution or poisons. Investigations are also performed on the primary chemical processes inside single neuron and cancer cells. Furthermore, our targeted in-vivo nano-devices detect (with MRI, CT, ultrasound) and kill (via chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, photothermal therapy) brain tumor cells. These targeted nanodevices are also used for tracing the spread of tumor in vivo (e.g. glioma)
We collaborate with several groups, at the University of Michigan (Neurotoxicology, Oncology, Neurosurgery, Bio-Medical and Chemical Engineering) and outside, e.g. Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Ohio State Medical School.

Kopelman Research Group



American Chemical Society Award in Spectrochemical Analysis
Collegiate Inventors Grand Prize
American Chemical Society Morley Award and Medal
Guggenheim Fellow
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Fellow of the American Physical Society
Lady Davis Fellowship
J. William Fulbright Research Award
National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award
National Science Foundation Creativity Award

Representative Publications

  1. Tang, W., Xu, H., Park, E.J., Philbert, M.A., and Kopelman, R., "Encapsulation of Methylene Blue in Polyacrylamid Nanoparticle Platforms Protects its Photodynamic Effectiveness", Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 2008, 369, 579-583.

  2. Koo, Y-E.L, Agayan, R., Philbert, M.A., Rehemtulla, A., Ross, B.D., and Kopelman, R., "Photonic Explorers Based on Multifunctional Nano-Platforms: In Vitro and In Vivo Biomedical Applications," Eds. Kneipp, K., Aroca, R., Kneipp, H., and Wentrup-Byrne, E., ACS Symposium Series 963, 2007, 200-218.

  3. Tyner, K.M., Kopelman, R., and Philbert, M.A., "Nano-Sized Voltmeter Enables Cellular-Wide Electric Field Mapping", BiophysJ, 2007, 93, 1-12.

  4. Anker, J., Koo, Y-E., and Kopelman, R., "Magnetically Controlled Sensor Swarms", Special 25th Anniversary Issue of Sensors & Actutators B., 2006, 121, 83-92. [Invited Paper]

  5. Koo, Y-E., Reddy, G.R., Bhojani, M., Schneider, R., Ross, B.D., Rehemtulla, A., Philbert, M.A., and Kopelman, R., "Brain Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy with Nano-platforms", Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 2006, 58, 1556-1577. [Invited Review]