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Alan Waggoner, PhD

Maxwell H. and Gloria C. Connan Professor of Life Sciences; Director; Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center and Professor of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University

Ph.D., University of Oregon
Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University

My research group creates fluorescence-based detection systems for biology and biotechnology. The cyanine dye fluorescent labeling reagents developed in the laboratory have become widely used in industry and academic research for multicolor analysis of proteins, nucleic acids, cells and tissues by imaging and flow cytometry. My laboratory has participated in a wide range of research projects. As part of a NASA funded project we produced a panel of fluorescent reagents and an imaging system, which detected sparse microbial life in the extreme environment of the Atacama desert. We are also developing new fluorescent reagents to monitor cellular electrical potential and ion fluxes to study the cardiac function of living mammalian hearts. I am currently leading the development of a novel sensor unit technology for a broad class of biosensors. We envision this technology will provide a very powerful, and almost generic, tool for detecting protein interactions on and inside living cells. The sensor units are generated by combining engineered, cell-expressed target-binding proteins and environmentally sensitive fluorescent dyes that report target binding. Multiple sensors can be expressed simultaneously to sensitively and rapidly detect several targets within individual cells. These sensor units are being incorporated into intracellular sensors, sensor particles and optical fiber sensors for interstitial spaces in tissues, sensors on chips for in vitro assays, and sensors for high throughput automated homogeneous assays in pharmaceutical drug discovery.

  1. Local retention of antibodies in vivo with an injectable film embedded with a fluorogen-activating protein. Liu W, Saunders MJ, Bagia C, Freeman EC, Fan Y, Gawalt ES, Waggoner AS, Meng WS. J Control Release. 2016 May 28;230:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.03.032. Epub 2016 Mar 31. PMID: 27038493
  2. A rapid and affordable screening platform for membrane protein trafficking. Snyder JC, Pack TF, Rochelle LK, Chakraborty SK, Zhang M, Eaton AW, Bai Y, Ernst LA, Barak LS, Waggoner AS, Caron MG. BMC Biol. 2015 Dec 17;13:107. doi: 10.1186/s12915-015-0216-3. PMID: 26678094 Free PMC Article
  3. Discovery of Small-Molecule Nonfluorescent Inhibitors of Fluorogen-Fluorogen Activating Protein Binding Pair. Wu Y, Stauffer SR, Stanfield RL, Tapia PH, Ursu O, Fisher GW, Szent-Gyorgyi C, Evangelisti A, Waller A, Strouse JJ, Carter MB, Bologa C, Gouveia K, Poslusney M, Waggoner AS, Lindsley CW, Jarvik JW, Sklar LA. J Biomol Screen. 2016 Jan;21(1):74-87. doi: 10.1177/1087057115609145. Epub 2015 Oct 6. PMID: 26442911
  4. Fluoromodule-based reporter/probes designed for in vivo fluorescence imaging. Zhang M, Chakraborty SK, Sampath P, Rojas JJ, Hou W, Saurabh S, Thorne SH, Bruchez MP, Waggoner AS. J Clin Invest. 2015 Oct 1;125(10):3915-27. doi: 10.1172/JCI81086. Epub 2015 Sep 8. PMID: 26348895 Free PMC Article
  5. Genetically targeted fluorogenic macromolecules for subcellular imaging and cellular perturbation. Magenau AJ, Saurabh S, Andreko SK, Telmer CA, Schmidt BF, Waggoner AS, Bruchez MP. Biomaterials. 2015 Oct;66:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.07.002. Epub 2015 Jul 2. PMID: 26183934
Primary Address
294B Mellon Institute
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