Kumar Letter of Nomination by Dr. Peng Zhang


March 15, 2009

Honorary Degrees and Awards Committee:

I would like to take this opportunity to nominate Manoj Kumar for the Langmuir Award for Excellence in Research for 2009. Mr. Kumar is currently a PhD student in the Chemistry Department. The research he carried out over the last year led to an article titled "Highly sensitive and selective oligonucleotide sensor for sickle cell disease gene using photon upconverting nanoparticles" published online in 2008 and in print in the January 2009 issue of Biosensors and Bioelectronics. A copy of the pdf version of this article is attached with this letter.


Biosensors and Bioelectronics

is "the principal international journal devoted to research, design, development and application of biosensors and bioelectronics". It received the most citations in that category, with an impact factor of 5.061 in 2007 and 4.132 in 2006.


Phosphor nanoparticles have been widely used in various applications for quite some time. Yet it was very recent that there had been reports of using photon upconverting materials in bioassay. In this Biosensors and Bioelectronics manuscript article, Mr. Kumar describes the design and development of an oligonucleotide sensor, based on photon upconverting nanoparticles, which can detect the gene related to the sickle cell disease gene with high sensitivity and specificity (single-nucleotide variation). The sensor is not susceptible to photobleaching, a problem commonly associated with many regular fluorophores. It displays high specificity with capability of discriminating single-nucleotide variation against a matrix of DNA mixture. The design of the sensor is versatile and easy to implement. Nucleotide sensors of this type are expected to be effective for applications in other DNA/RNA detections.

In a continuous study, Mr. Kumar further extended the work, and developed another oligonucleotide sensor for label-free DNA detection. This improvised scheme demonstrated even higher sensitivity of detection and without the need of fluorophore labelling. This follow-up work has been submitted as another article to ChemBioChem. To our knowledge, this is the first time a DNA biosensor of this design is reported, which I believe will no doubt lead to more publications in the near future.


I would be happy to discuss this article, and the research, further if you have any questions. Thank you for your consideration of this nomination.


Peng Zhang

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemistry

New Mexico Tech