M22.00011. Near-IR Absorbing Quantum Dots Designed to Kill Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens

Presented by: Max Levy


Multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens infect millions of people in the US, with global predictions of 10 million annual deaths by 2050.1 New classes of antibiotics are needed to address this global public health crisis. Light-activated quantum dots (QDs) can fill this role by perturbing the bacteria’s biochemical environment using specifically designed optoelectronic properties.1 Inside bacteria, QDs can be energized by visible light, transferring electrons to O2 to generate superoxide radicals. We show that low doses of QDs can kill pathogens without harming human cells. CdTe QDs, while effective,2–5 are limited by the use of visible light for activation. As such, we recently developed two InP QDs which operate with tissue-penetrating near-IR and deep-red light.6 These heavy metal free QDs kill MDR pathogens without harming human cells. This work has the potential to treat dangerous infections of bacterial pathogens with a low-cost rational approach. [1] CM Courtney, et al., Nat. Mater. 15, 529 (2016). [2] M Levy, et al., J. Biol. Eng. (2019). [3] M Levy, et al., ACS Appl. Bio Mater. 1, 529 (2018). [4] CM Courtney, et al., Sci. Adv. 3, e1701776 (2017). [5] SM Goodman & M Levy, et al., Front. Chem. 6, 46 (2018). [6] M Levy, et al., Angew. Chemie Int. Ed. (2019).


  • Max Levy
  • John. R Bertram
  • Kristen A. Eller
  • Yuchen Ding
  • Anushree Chatterjee
  • Prashant Nagpal*


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