Femtosecond laser surgery continues to advance
The Ben-Yakar Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin is advancing femtosecond laser technologies through a number of novel approaches. Our cutting-edge research of nerve regeneration in C. elegans could lead to advanced understanding of traumatic nerve injuries and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.2-3 Our breakthroughs in plasmonic laser nanoablation could ultimately impact both cellular and material nanoprocessing.4-5 Our development of a microsurgical endoscope could lead to a next-generation clinical surgery scalpel, with unprecedented clinical applications that require miniaturization and flexible laser delivery through fibers.6-8
Now, we are turning our attention to yet another area in which femtosecond lasers can shine. In recent years, the femtosecond laser has been utilized in tissue engineering and live cell processing. We intend to combine our microfluidic and femtosecond laser specialties in order to delve into the realm of cell signaling and gene transfection in mouse embryonic stem cells. The femtosecond laser is becoming an efficient tool for cell membrane optoporation, and in this new project, we will ultimately create a lab-on-chip operated in conjunction with femtosecond laser optoporation in order to investigate the role of Fgf signaling in stem cell fate decisions. The obvious potential of the femtosecond laser is growing, and the Ben-Yakar Laboratory is turning potential into reality.
1. I. E. Ratkay-Traub, T. Ferincz, R. M. Juhasz, R. M. Kurtz, and R. R. Krueger, J. Refract. Surg. , 19, 94–103 (2003).
2. S. X. Guo et al., Nat. Meth. , 5, 6, 531–533 (2008).
3. F. Yanik et al, Nature , 432, 822 (2004).
4. A. Ben-Yakar, D. Eversole, and S. X. Guo, "Plasmonic laser nanoablation," US Patent 7834331, issued 11/16/2010.
5. D. S. Eversole, B. Luk’yanchuk, and A. Ben-Yakar, Appl. Phys. A , 89, 283–291 (2007).
6. C. L. Hoy et al., Opt. Exp. , 19, 10536–10552 (2011).
7. C. L. Hoy, W. N. Everett, J. Kobler, and A. Ben-Yakar, "Towards endoscopic ultrafast laser microsurgery of vocal folds," Proc. SPIE , 7548, 754831 (2010).
8. C. L. Hoy et al., Opt. Exp. , 16, 13, 9996–10005 (2008).
LAURA HARRIS is a graduate research assistant in the Ben-Yakar Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, which focuses on femtosecond laser-assisted biophotonics. Her work integrates femtosecond laser nanosurgery and microfluidic techniques to investigate the fate choice of mouse embryonic stem cells.
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