Angelika Niemz, PhDArnold and Mabel Beckman Professor
Areas of Expertise
Medical Devices, In Vitro Diagnostics, Nucleic Acid Testing, Isothermal DNA Amplification, Infectious Disease Diagnosis, Bioengineering, Biosensors, Laboratory Automation, Nanotechnology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry
Dr. Niemz, a native of Germany, received her undergraduate degree in chemistry in 1992 at the University of Konstanz in Germany and her PhD in chemistry in 1999 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After working as a postdoctoral fellow in chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, she joined Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences (KGI) in 2002 as an Assistant Professor. In 2008 she became an Associate Professor and in 2009, after a 6-month sabbatical where she worked for Roche Molecular Diagnostics in Switzerland, she began serving as Director of Research at KGI and was named the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor.
Dr. Niemz teaches courses on medical diagnostics, high throughput technologies, and instrumentation development at KGI. Additionally, she has taught short courses on IVD automation and nanobiotechnology at the annual conference of the Association for Laboratory Automation for seven years. She has obtained independent research funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense, and has frequently served on grant review panels. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, and the Association for Laboratory Automation. Beyond her research and other scholarly activities, she obtained funding for and organized a summer undergraduate research program at KGI for the past eight years. Dr. Niemz has also coordinated K-12 outreach activities, including internship opportunities for high school teachers and students.
ALS 320: Medical Diagnostics
This course provides an overview of the in vitro diagnostics industry and will enable students to acquire the basic knowledge and skills needed to understand and ultimately design diagnostic assays and devices. Students will become familiar with the fundamentals of biomolecular recognition, assay development, engineering design, device fabrication, optics, fluid mechanics, and laboratory automation.ALS 408: Advanced In Vitro Diagnostics
This course covers emerging, high impact, and high growth rate areas of the in vitro diagnostics industry such as novel immunoassay formats, diagnostic applications of flow cytometry, molecular diagnostics and pharmaco-genomics, personalized medicine and drug diagnostic co-development, point of care diagnostics in developed countries and in global health / limited resource settings, as well as micro-fluidics and nano-technology in diagnostics.ALS 409: Technologies for Biomarker and Drug Discovery
This course focuses on the use of laboratory automation and high throughput technologies in small molecule drug discovery, biomarker discovery, and basic research.
- Selected Publications
Vandeventer PE, Weigel KM, Salazar J, Erwin B, Irvine B, Doebler R, Nadim A, Cangelosi GA, Niemz A. "Mechanical Disruption of Lysis-Resistant Bacterial Cells by Use of a Miniature, Low-Power, Disposable Device". Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2011 Jul;49(7):2533-2539
Niemz A, Ferguson TM, Boyle DS. "Point-of-care nucleic acid testing for infectious diseases". Trends in Biotechnology 2011 May;29(5):240-250
Tan E, Erwin B, Dames S, Ferguson T, Buechel M, Irvine B, Voelkerding K, Niemz A. "Specific versus nonspecific isothermal DNA amplification through thermophilic polymerase and nicking enzyme activities". Biochemistry 2008 Sep 23;47(38):9987-9999
Tan E, Erwin B, Dames S, Voelkerding K, Niemz A. "Isothermal DNA amplification with gold nanosphere-based visual colorimetric readout for herpes simplex 2 virus detection". Clinical Chemistry 2007 Nov;53(11):2017-2020
Niemz A, Bandyopadhyay K, Tan E, Cha K, Baker SM. "Fabrication of nanoporous templates from diblock copolymer thin films on alkylchlorosilane-neutralized surfaces". Langmuir 2006 Dec 19;22(26):11092-11096
Bandyopadhyay K, Tan E, Ho L, Bundick S, Baker SM, Niemz A. "Deposition of DNA-functionalized gold nanospheres into nanoporous surfaces". Langmuir 2006 May 23;22(11):4978-4984
Tan E, Wong J, Nguyen D, Zhang Y, Erwin B, Van Ness LK, Baker SM, Galas DJ, Niemz A. "Isothermal DNA amplification coupled with DNA nanosphere-based colorimetric detection". Analytical Chemistry 2005 Dec 15;77(24):7984-7992
Niemz A, Tirrell DA. "Self-association and membrane-binding behavior of melittins containing trifluoroleucine". Journal of the American Chemical Society 2001 Aug 1;123(30):7407-7413
Niemz A, Rotello VM. "From enzyme to molecular device. Exploring the interdependence of redox and molecular recognition". Accounts of Chemical Research 1999;32(1):44-52
Niemz A, Rotello VM. "Modification of spin density distribution via specific hydrogen bond interactions: An experimental, UHF, and density functional study". Journal of the American Chemical Society 1997;119(29):6833-6836
Niemz A, Imbriglio J, Rotello VM. "Model systems for flavoenzyme activity: One- and two-electron reduction of flavins in aprotic hydrophobic environments". Journal of the American Chemical Society 1997;119(5):892-897
Download Full Faculty Research Profile
Dr. Niemz's current research focuses on infectious disease diagnosis at the point of care and in low resource settings, based on isothermal nucleic acid amplification. Her laboratory is exploring alternate approaches for rapid non-invasive pathogen identification using novel biomarkers. Through research efforts related to sample preparation, assay development, software tools, and device engineering, the laboratory aims to develop fully integrated sample to answer platforms. Other research efforts include the development of biosensors and exploration of nanoscale self-assembly to form ordered surface structures with tunable properties.
As a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, Dr. Niemz characterized the interaction of bioengineered peptides and proteins with lipid membranes through a variety of spectroscopic methods. As a PhD student, she used electrochemical, spectroscopic, and computational methods to study the interplay between redox and molecular recognition in biological and man-made systems, with an emphasis on cofactor modulation of flavoenzymes.
Current Research Projects
Rapid Fully Integrated Nucleic Acid Testing for Infectious Diseases at the Point of Care: Nucleic acid amplification enables sensitive and specific pathogen diagnoses. Point-of-care testing in low resource settings requires rapid, simple to use, and inexpensive assays and related devices for nucleic acid testing that address the entire process from sample-in to answer-out in an integrated format. The Niemz lab group is developing such a platform technology by integrating isothermal nucleic acid amplification, lateral flow-based detection, and novel sample preparation approaches. Targeted pathogens include Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Isothermal DNA Amplification Through Polymerase and Nicking Enzyme Activities: The isothermal Exponential Amplification Reaction (EXPAR) efficiently amplifies short oligonucleotides through thermostable polymerase and nicking endonuclease activities. The Niemz lab group is investigating how EXPAR is influenced by thermodynamic, enzyme kinetic, and sequence related parameters, using experimental and computational methods. Work is being done to develop new assay formats and conduct systematic assay optimization to achieve robust reproducible assay performance with sensitive and specific target detection, a pre-requisite for application of EXPAR in clinical diagnostics.
Nucleic Acid Sample Preparation: What Happens at the Surface? The Niemz lab group seeks to further understand, on a molecular level, what determines the reversible interactions of nucleic acids with silica surfaces (including composites and modified surfaces). Based on this understanding, reaction conditions, surface composition and functionalization can be altered to more effectively switch from binding to release, particularly release of nucleic acids from the surface into a small elution volume compatible with subsequent nucleic acid amplification. Such understanding can lead to improved solid phase extraction methods for nucleic acid testing.
Future Research Interests
The Niemz lab group is interested in novel approaches for pathogen diagnosis and clinical diagnostics in general, novel biosensors, biomarkers in the context of personalized medicine, understanding and preventing the emergence of drug resistance.
|Angelika Niemz, PhD|
|Location:||Building 517, Room 121A|