Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D. | University of South Carolina, 2005
Postdoctoral Research | University of California at Davis, 2005-2008
The ability to study biological events on the cellular or molecular levels is important in understanding disease pathology and therapeutic efficacy, and the development of imaging agents targeted to specific biological structures or disease markers can help to elucidate the chemical processes occurring at various stages of treatment or disease. Thus, nanometer sized, inorganic particles with at least one imaging handle are attractive candidates for the study of cellular and sub-cellular processes because they are on the order of the physical dimensions of many biological structures including: DNA, oligonucleotides, and antibodies. They are also attractive candidates for imaging relative to small molecule reagents, due to the collective properties exhibited by a relatively large number of atoms. Research in the Goforth laboratory is directed toward the advancement of the field of bionanotechnology by the development of novel, nanometer sized inorganic imaging agents. The primary research efforts are three-fold: 1) optimization of the inorganic core structure for maximal imaging property (e.g., maximal quantum yield and suitable emission characteristics for fluorescence imaging, maximal magnetic moment for magnetic resonance imaging, or maximal X-ray scattering power for computed tomography X-ray imaging), 2) development of surface-tailored inorganic particles for specific targeting and imaging of biological processes, and 3) synthesis of less toxic imaging agents for non-invasive in vivo imaging. Current research efforts are focused on development of fluorescent silicon nanoparticles and bimodal fluorescent/magnetic nanoparticle systems targeted to the cell surface protein 4 1 integrin, believed to be involved in cell-cell adhesion interactions in the formation of new blood vessels and in cancer metathesis. Dr. Goforth's lab will participate in collaborative biological experiments with Dr. Tim Stout (Oregon Health Sciences University) and Dr. Kit Lam (University of California, Davis Medical Center), with the ultimate goal being single molecule imaging of neovascularization and cancer processes.
Dr. Goforth joined the chemistry faculty at Portland State University in August of 2008 after a joint post-doctoral appointment with the Departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. She is a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Careers at the Scientific Interface award recipient and an Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) Signature Research Fellow. Dr. Goforth also has interests in solid-state and materials chemistry, and the application of inorganic nanoparticles for technological applications, e.g., device minaturization.