UNC-NCSU researcher receives grant to develop molecular imaging tools

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 — Paul Dayton, Ph.D., an associate professor of biomedical engineering in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and at North Carolina State University, has been awarded a four-year, $1.2 million grant for research aimed at developing safer, more effective tools for ultrasound molecular imaging.

The grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, was awarded under a new program that encourages collaborations between scientists to advance public health research. Dayton’s collaborators in this project include Mark Borden, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York and the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre of the University of Toronto in Canada. Both Dayton and Borden are principal investigators of the project.

Ultrasound molecular imaging aims to assess diseases based on molecular changes, rather than the anatomical changes traditionally observed with clinical ultrasound. At present the technology cannot be used outside laboratory settings because currently available molecularly-targeted contrast agents – which are given to patients to allow researchers to see cellular markers of disease – are not optimized for use in humans. Dayton’s project aims to develop safer contrast agents and improve ultrasound scanner technology.

Dayton heads a lab based at UNC that is part of the joint UNC-NCSU department of biomedical engineering. He is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Prior to joining the department in 2007, Dayton was on the faculty at the University of California, Davis. He is also associate editor of the journal Molecular Imaging.

Note: Dayton can be reached at (919) 843-9521 or padayton@bme.unc.edu.

School of Medicine contact: Tom Hughes, (919) 966-6047, tahughes@unch.unc.edu
News Services contact: Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596, patric_lane@unc.edu

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