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Barrett Eichler, Ph.D.




  • Professor, Chemistry
  • Augustana University


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Davis
  • Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • B.A., Chemistry, University of Minnesota-Morris

Current Research: One of the best ways to prevent mortality from cancer is early detection. Prostate cancer is a very common cancer in men, but current methods involve a pathologist observing cells and giving the cell morphology a score, called a Gleason sum. In order to remove human error from detection, we seek to use fluorescence spectroscopy to detect the presence of a particular protein found only on the surface of malignant prostate cancer cells. Scientists have developed an RNA strand (aptamer) that binds strongly and selectively to this protein, and this RNA strand has already been attached to highly fluorescent quantum dots (QDs). We intend to prepare these RNA-coated QDs, introduce them to samples of prostate cancer, and quantify the amount of fluorescence using spectroscopic methods. This should provide a more quantifiable and reliable detection method for prostate cancer than is currently used and may eventually extend to other forms of cancer.