Ph.D., Bioengineering
University of Pennsylvania

B.A., Mathematics
Haverford College

Contact Information

5932-B Stevenson Center
VU Mailbox: PMB 351510, Nashville, TN 37235-1510 USA

Frederick Haselton

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Professor of Chemistry

Biomedical Engineering

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Research Focus

We seek to develop technologies for diagnostic and research applications at the nano and molecular level using both in vitro and in vivo systems. Our laboratory has a strong collaborative and experimental focus as indicated by the current examples listed below.

Current Projects

“Coffee Ring Diagnostics for Malaria” – The goal of this Gates Foundation funded project (with David Wright in Chemistry) is to develop a low-cost & simple diagnostic device for the detection of malaria suitable for low resource environments. Our current design uses the presence of a malarial biomarker to alter the microfluidic transport of particles in an evaporating drop and produce visually detectable changes in particle ring formation.

"Multi-spectral quantum dot-based retinal imaging of molecular expression in vivo" – The unique optical properties of quantum dots offer the potential for new optical methods to study molecular events. This NIH funded project (with Ash Jayagopal in Chemistry and John Penn in Ophthalmology) seeks to develop a platform for the real-time, in vivo analysis of multiple cellular and molecular events in vivo using quantum dot nanocrystals and retinal fluorescence microscopy.

"Retinal imaging of prognostic indicators of atherosclerosis" – This quantum dot NIH funded project (with Sergio Fazio in Cardiovascular Medicine & Ash Jayagopal in Chemistry) seeks to use novel retinal imaging agents as a tool to predict the progression of atherosclerotic lesions in coronary arteries.

"Development of DNA Logic Operations for Viral Diagnostics" - The goal of this NIH funded project (with David Wright in Chemistry, Jim Crowe in the Medical Center) is to develop and evaluate a new paradigm in virus detection. The approach is based on a combination of nanoparticle surface chemistry, tag-specific DNA sequences, and DNA ligation logical AND operators.

"The role of Bves in the human cornea" – In this NIH funded project (with Min Chang in Ophthalmology) our long term objectives are to understand the role of the junction protein Bves, and more broadly, the molecular basis of corneal regeneration both in homeostasis and wound repair. Our central hypothesis is that Bves is important in corneal epithelial cellular migration and proliferation mediated through regulation of adhesion junctions.


Adams, Nicholas M., Jackson, Stephen R., Haselton, Frederick R., Wright, David W., Design, Synthesis and Characterization of Nucleic Acid-Functionalized Gold Surfaces for Biomarker Detection, Langmuir 28(4): 1068-1082, 2012; PMID 21905721.

Davis, K. M., Swartz, J.D., Haselton, F.R. and Wright, D. W., A Low-Resource Method for Extracting the Malarial Biomarker Histidine Rich Protein II to Enhance Rapid Diagnostic Test Performance, Analytical Chemistry, 84 (14):6136–6142, 2012.

Adams, Nicholas; Olmsted, Ian; Haselton, Frederick; Bornhop, Darryl; Wright, David The effect of hybridization-induced secondary structure alterations on RNA detection using backscattering interferometry, Nucleic Acids Reseach, 21 March 2013; doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt165.

Nicholas M. Adams, Amy E. Creecy, Catherine E. Majors, Bathsheba A. Wariso, Philip A. Short, David W. Wright, Frederick R. Haselton,  Design criteria for developing low-resource magnetic bead assays using surface tension valves, Biomicrofluidics , 014104, 2013. PMCID: PMC3562276.

Hali Bordelon, David W. Wright, Frederick R. Haselton, A low resource method for concentrating DNA from human urine for downstream detection, PLoS ONE 8(7): 2013; e68369. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068369.

Josh Trantum, Zachary Eagleton, Frederick Haselton, OCT imaging of the flow of small particulates inside of an evaporating drop, Langmuir 29 (21), pp 6221–6231, 2013; DOI: >10.1021/la400542x

Christopher P. Gulka, Joshua D. Swartz, Joshua R. Trantum, Keersten M. Davis, Corey M. Peak, Alexander J. Denton, Frederick R. Haselton and David W. Wright, Coffee Rings as Low-Resource Diagnostics: Detection of the Malaria Biomarker Plasmodium falciparum Histidine-Rich Protein-II Using a Surface-Coupled Ring of Ni(II)NTA Gold Particles,  ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 May 14:6(9):6257-63. PMID: 24758478.

Joshua R. Trantum, Mark L. Baglia, Zachary E. Eagleton, Raymond L. Mernaugh, and Frederick R. Haselton, Biosensor design based on Marangoni flow in an evaporating drop, Lab on a Chip 14(2): 315-324, 2014.

Nicholas M. Adams,, Kwo-Kwang Abraham Wang, Alison C. Caprioli, Lana C., Thomas, Besik Kankia, Frederick R. Haselton, David W. Wright, mRNA detection from surrogate patient samples based on quadruplex priming amplification, Analyst. 2014 Mar 3;139(7):1644-1652. PMID: 24503712.

Keersten M. Davis, Lauren E. Gibson, Fredrick R. Haselton, David W. Wright, Simple Sample Processing Enhances Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test Performance, Analyst 139(12): 3026-3031, 2014. PMID: 24787948.

Nicholas M. Adams, Hali Bordelon, Kwo-Kwang A. Wang,  Laura E. Albert,David W. Wright, Frederick R. Haselton, Comparison of three magnetic bead surface functionalities for RNA extraction and detection, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 7(11):6062-6069, 2015.

Anna L. Bitting, Hali Bordelon, Mark L. Baglia, Keersten M. Davis, Amy E. Creecy, Philip A. Short, Laura E. Albert, Aditya V. Karhade, David W. Wright, Frederick R. Haselton, Nicholas M. Adams, Automated Device for Random-Access Extraction of RNA, DNA, or Protein Biomarkers from Surrogate Patient Samples, J. Laboratory Automation (in press, 2015).

Amy Creecy, Patricia K. Russ, Francesca Solinas, David Wright, Frederick R Haselton, Tuberculosis biomarker extraction and isothermal amplification in an integrated diagnostic device, PLoS ONE 10(7), e0130260.

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