Prof. Luke P Lee

Professor, Harvard Medical School, Brigham Women's Hospital

Harvard University

Talk: Transformative Medicine via Smart SANDs, QBET, and EXODUS


In this talk, I will present smart SANDs (Speedy Analytical Nano-optofluidic Diagnostic system) to predict and stop the spread of infectious diseases. Smart SANDs refer to advanced molecular diagnostic systems consisting of three primary components: (1) a self-contained on-chip sample preparation and liquid biopsy process, (2) an ultrafast plasmonic amplification method for DNA, RNA and protein biomarkers, and (3) a smartphone optical system interface. Furthermore, nanoplasmonic optical antennas permit QBET (Quantum Biological Electron Transfer) imaging to detect ET dynamics in mitochondrial cytochrome c in living cells. The non-invasive real-time QBET spectroscopic imaging of ET in live cells can open a new era in life sciences since it captures spatiotemporal ET dynamics in live cells. Nanoplasmonic optical antennas can also capture the secret communication codes of the bacterial extracellular vesicles (EVs) to better understand the mechanisms of bacterial communication, pathogenesis, and drug resistance.

I will also discuss how human EVs have emerged as a new paradigm in diagnostics and therapeutics, and the recent progress of EV-based applications of EXODUS (EXOsome Detection via the Ultrafast-purification System).  Since the EXODUS by harmonic resonator generates high speed, purity, and yield via automated label-free purification of exosomes from various biofluids, it produces the most sensitive detection of liquid biopsy (from blood, tears, urine, or saliva). For example, the significantly improved purification of exosomes from cancer patients' urine samples enables us to obtain efficient multiomics and compare enriched pathways of kidney and bladder cancer.  We also developed iTEARS (integrated Tear Exosome Analysis via Rapid-isolation System) to identify proteins and miRNAs biomarkers and see the world of diseases in a drop of tears. EXODUS-based iTEARS can provide a solution to identify numerous other diseases, including infectious diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.

For personalized precision medicine, I will present the development of brain organoid MAP (Microphysiological Analysis Platforms) with brainwave sensors and therapeutic modulations of mitochondrial electron transport chains. Human-induced pluripotent stem cells-based brain organoid MAP provides an ideal model to address fundamental questions of neuropathogenesis and find solutions for neurodegenerations. In addition, patient-derived brain organoids can recapitulate patient responses and help personalized medicine. Smart SANDs, QBET, EXODUS, and brain organoid MAPs will impact quantitative life sciences and transformative medicine via the convergence of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.


Dr. Luke P. Lee is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his B.A. in Biophysics (1996) from University of California (UC) Berkeley and his Ph.D. (2000) in Applied Physics and Bioengineering from the same institution. He joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1999 after more than a decade of industry experience. He was appointed as the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Distinguished Professor (2010-2019) and the Lester John and Lynne Dewar Lloyd Distinguished Professor (2005-2009) at UC Berkeley. He was the Chair Professor in Systems Nanobiology (2006-2007) at ETH Zürich. He also served as Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor and Associate President for International Research and Innovation at the National University of Singapore (2016-2018).


Dr. Lee's contributions to scientific research have significantly impacted a global scale. His groundbreaking work in single-cell analysis, molecular diagnostic systems, ultrafast photonic polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantum biological electron transfer (QBET), and exosome detection via the ultrafast isolation system (EXODUS) has transformed the field. Dr. Lee's dedication to advancing quantitative biology and systems nanomedicine and his ability to bring together experts from various fields, such as life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, and medicine, have led to innovative solutions to global health problems. His recent development of advanced neurotechnology, the Mini-Brain Microphysiological Analysis Platforms (MAP), using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-based organoids, demonstrates his dedication to understanding and finding solutions to complicated health issues. These brain organoid MAPs will contribute to discovering better comprehension of neuropathogenesis and its potential treatments.


Dr. Lee is a well-known and highly respected researcher and educator who has earned an exceptional reputation in his field. He has authored over 350 research articles, contributed to four book chapters, and holds 60 international patents. In addition to his academic achievements, Dr. Lee is an outstanding mentor and leader, supervised and guided over 120 undergraduate students, 31 Ph.D. candidates, and 37 post-doctoral fellows. He has produced 35 faculty members in various universities and over 10 CEOs and CSOs of start-ups. Dr. Lee has been honored as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He has also received various awards, such as the IEEE William J. Morlock Award, NSF Career Award, Fulbright Scholar Award, and the HoAm Prize.