Payne Lab Research

The Payne Lab studies the interaction of cells with nanomaterials with a focus on the underlying biophysical chemistry. Current research investigates nanoparticles (TiO2, colloidal gold, SPIONs, quantum dots) and nanowires.

Nanoparticle-cell interactions. Nanoparticles have important biomedical applications ranging from the treatment of human disease with gene therapy to understanding basic cellular functions with fluorescent probes. In all of these applications, nanoparticles come into contact with a complex mixture of extracellular proteins. The Payne Lab is interested in understanding how adsorption of proteins onto the surface of a nanoparticle alters the interaction of the nanoparticle with a cell. By understanding how nanoparticles interact with cells in a realistic biological environment, we will be able to design better nanoparticles for the treatment and detection of human disease.

Conducting polymer-cell interactions. The integration of biocompatible conducting polymers with cells has important applications in regenerative medicine. The Payne Lab is using their expertise in nanoparticle delivery to generate conducting polymers inside of living cells and to attach individual conducting polymer nanowires to cells. In addition, the Payne Lab is using biomolecules as oxidants for the polymerization of conducting polymers with tunable properties.

Fluorescence microscopy. Observing the interactions of cells with materials requires the spatial and temporal resolution provided by fluorescence microscopy. While recent developments in fluorescence microscopy make it possible to image many of the dynamic events that are essential to cellular function, new methods are necessary to observe the dynamics of single molecules inside living cells. Imaging within live cells is difficult as the emission from fluorescent probes competes with the autofluorescence of the cell. The Payne Lab is developing new optical techniques for quantitative cellular imaging. Optical methods of interest include nanometer-level imaging, spectroscopic single-particle tracking, and multiphoton total internal reflection microscopy.

Graduate students interested in joining the Payne Lab need to first be admitted into a Georgia Tech graduate program; School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Bioengineering Graduate Program, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, or the QBioS Graduate Program.

Undergraduate students, in any major, should email Prof. Payne. Please include an unofficial transcript and cover letter explaining your research interests and career goals.

Postdocs should email Prof. Payne. Please include a CV, a list of 3 references, and a statement of research interests.