Asahi Tomitaka

Project Title:  Triple-negative breast cancer screening system using magnetic nanoparticle-based probe

The overarching goal of this project is to establish a portable nanoparticle-based diagnostic system for rapid screening of early-stage triple-negative breast cancer without invasive biopsy or expensive radiological exam. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive type of breast cancer which disproportionately affects black women and contributes to high breast cancer mortality rates. Its invasive nature as well as low responsiveness to the current therapeutics lead to poor prognosis, shorter survival rate, and high recurrence rate. TNBC remains undetected until it progresses and symptoms appear due to lack of major abnormal features. Therefore, it is critical to develop a diagnostic system which can detect early-stage TNBC to improve patient outcomes. In this project, we will develop a novel portable detection system for early TNBC detection by combining TNBC-targeting nano-probe which specifically binds to TNBC cells and a portable sensor which detects the nano-probe bound to TNBC cells. The integration of the TNBC-targeting nano-probe and the portable sensor will enable rapid screening of early-stage TNBC without expensive radiological exam or biopsy. The successful development of TNBC detection system will significantly benefit the vulnerable population by improving screening accessibility and enabling early detection of TNBC.

Research Interests

Nanomedicine, Drug delivery system, Molecular imaging, Theranostics, Multifunctional nanoparticles

Assistant Teaching Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Asashi Tomitaka is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Florida International University. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Yokohama National University, Yokohama, Japan in 2011. Her research interests lie in the area of Nanobiotechnology and Magnetic Engineering. Her current research focuses on nanoparticle-based biomedical applications including drug delivery system, molecular imaging, and biosensor. She had postdoctoral trainings in the field of Biomaterials, Materials Science, and Nanomedicine. During her Ph.D. and postdoctoral training, she was awarded the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Research Fellowship and JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad. She was also awarded a pilot grant from the Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) based on the nanoparticle-based molecular imaging project and participated in the NSF-awarded I-Corps program.

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