Fluorescent Detection of Fungal Pathogens

Mice infected intrastromally with three different strains of Aspergillus (A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger). Labeling of infected area using caspofungin-conjugated fluorescent probe.

Invention Summary:

Diagnostic imaging could provide important spatial information about fungal infections, but current imaging modalities lack specificity for fungal pathogens. Imaging in the near infrared (NIR) range, where body tissue is transparent, is particularly promising, but conventional NIR probes are to large to enter cells and access fungal pathogens.

In response to these challenges, Rutgers researchers have developed a novel near infrared fluorophore that can be conjugated to an antifungal drug to detect fungal infections. The antifungal drug serves as a targeting agent that is specific to fungal pathogens and known to be safe. The novel fluorophore’s small size increases its uptake by cells and does not interfere with the targeting properties of conjugated antifungal drugs.

These fluorophore-conjugated antifungal drugs enable both in vivo and in vitro detection and visualization of fungal infections. Paired with Fluorescent Molecular Tomography, this approach could provide 3-D visualization of infected tissue.


Market Applications:

  • In vivo visualization of fungal infection
    • Eye infection
    • Wound infection
    • Yeast infection
  • In vitro visualization of fungi


  • Antifungal drugs as targeting agents
    • Increased sensitivity and specificity
    • Known safety
  • Small size: increased uptake by cells
  • Emission at 660-680 nm: tissue transparent
  • Emission not pH dependent

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Issued and pending patents. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.


  1. Lee MH et al, 2017, A novel, tomographic imaging probe for rapid diagnosis of fungal keratitis, Med Mycol,
  2. Pratt A et al, 2013, Evaluation of fungal-specific fluorescent labeled echinocandin probes as diagnostic adjuncts, Med Mycol, 51:103-107
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Tania Das Banerjee
Assistant Licensing Manager
Rutgers University
Sensors & Probes