Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action IF-GF NanoIntra


“NanoItra - Multitasking Nanoparticles for Intracellular Bioimaging and Biosensing”Tangi Aubert

This MSCA project entitled “Multitasking Nanoparticles for Intracellular Bioimaging and Biosensing” (NanoIntra) is an Individual Fellowship – Global Fellowship. During this project Dr. Tangi Aubert (the researcher) will spend 2 years at Cornell University in the United-States (partner organization, outgoing host) under the supervision of Prof. Ulrich Wiesner, starting in May 2017, and 1 year at Ghent University in Belgium (beneficiary organization, return host) under the supervision of Prof. Zeger Hens (scientist in charge).

The project

NanoIntraThe development of specifically designed nanomaterials for advanced medical applications such as theranostics has become a major technical challenge with great potential societal and economic outcomes. Nanomedicine and related techniques hold great promises for improved diagnostic and treatment of widely spread diseases such as cancer.

This project aims at developing novel multitasking nanoparticles as advanced tools for highly localized and ultrasensitive intracellular imaging and biosensing. These nanoprobes should provide new insights in the spatial and temporal processes at play in live cells and therefore reveal part of their mystery. Such functional objects are achieved through the design of a complex architecture which involves quantum dots as bright and stable luminescent markers encapsulated in a protective silica matrix. These nanoparticles are combined with plasmonic nanocrystals, which offer new strategies for their photothermally induced intracellular delivery. The targeting and imaging of specific subcellular structures is then achieved thanks to proper surface functionalization of the nanoparticles. In addition, the plasmonic nanocrystals also allow these nanoparticles to be used as Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) biosensors.

Finally, for a higher control on the use of such nano-biosensors, optical tweezers are used to purposefully manipulate and position the nanoparticles inside the cells at the region of interest. Besides their application in cell labeling and biosensing, these functional nanoparticles have tremendous potential applications in the fields of theranostics, nanomedicine and nanobiophotonics, and NanoIntra constitutes a first step toward the development of a full lab-on-a-particle. Through the synthesis and characterization of novel materials and their application to biotechnology, NanoIntra is a multidisciplinary research and training project at the interface between physics, chemistry and biology.


These are the objectives of NanoIntra:

•    The development of nanoparticles combining luminescence and plasmonic properties
•    The appropriate surface functionalization of these nanoparticles for live cell labeling
•    The intracellular delivery of these nanoparticles for bioimaging and biosensing of organelles

    Role of Ghent University

    In this project Ghent University is the beneficiary organization. Ghent University will lead and manage this project through the scientist in charge of the action, Prof. Zeger Hens. Ghent University will host the researcher, Dr. Tangi Aubert, during the return phase of the action.



    Dr. Tangi Aubert

    Department of Chemistry - Ghent University - Belgium
    phone: +32 9 264 4865

    Prof. Zeger Hens
    Department of Chemistry
    Phone number: +32 92644863