Department of Physics
Nanovoltage sensors for brain research
Shimon Weiss received his PhD from the Technion in Electrical Engineering in 1989. After a one year post doctorate at AT&T Bell Laboratories, he joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a staff scientist in 1990 where he re-directed his interest to single molecule biophysics. In 2001 he joined the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry and the Physiology departments. In 2016 he also joined the Physics department at Bar Ilan University, Israel (part time). The Weiss lab has been working on ultrasensitive single molecule spectroscopy methods. They were the first to introduce the single molecule FRET method and quantum dots to biological imaging. They have also developed a variety of single molecule spectroscopy methods and the SOFI superresolution imaging. Currently they are developing single inorganic nanoparticle voltage sensors for probing neural networks. They have been interested in regulation of transcription initiation (bacterial RNAP and human pol-II). Dr. Weiss has published 166 peer-reviewed papers, and holds 32 issued and 35 published patents. He was awarded the Humboldt Research Award, the Rank Prize in opto-electronics, and the Michael and Kate Barany Biophysical Society Award. He holds the Dean Willard Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry and he is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.
Personalized Medicine Activity:
Voltage sensing nanoparticles (vsNPs) that self-insert into the cell membrane could optically record, non-invasively, membrane potential at the single-particle and nanoscale level, at multiple sites, in a large field-of-view. vsNPs could be applied for neurodegenerative disorders in the CNS (e.g. PD, spinal cord injury, psychiatric disorders), PNS Diseases (e.g. ALS, MS, MD, IBS, AMD, Huntington, Chorea, Neuropathy, etc.), Retinal neurons (ophthalmology, diabetic neuropathy) and Vagal Afferent/ Efferent AP detection and stimulation. In addition to neuronal cells, a distinct voltage sensitivity and voltage-dependent activity is known for cardiomyocytes, cancer cells, and β cells islets. The putative voltage disturbance in pathological states may be translated into precise characteristics and personal diagnosis in order to match personalized treatment per disease stage for cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.