Dr. J. Manuel Perez

J. Manuel Perez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Joint Appointment in NanoScience Technology Center and Chemistry with a Secondary Joint in Biomedical Sciences
Phone: 407-882-2843
E-mail: jmperez@ucf.edu
View Full Curriculum Vita


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship — MGH-Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • Ph.D. — Boston University, Boston MA
  • M.S/B.S. Chemistry — University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PR

Prior Positions

  • Instructor in Chemistry, Center for Molecular Imaging Research, MGH-Harvard Medical School, 2003-2005


  • Department of Chemistry
  • Biomolecular Sciences, Ph.D. Program


The Perez lab focuses on the development of novel and innovative nanoparticle technologies and their application in nanomedicine, with a main focus on targeted therapeutics and activatable molecular imaging agents. Principles of material sciences, bioconjugation and polymer chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology, imaging, cancer biology and nanotechnology are routinely used in the lab to develop these nanoparticle technologies and understand their interaction with biological materials and living systems. The lab strives to develop nanoparticle-based technologies within two main areas: (1) the delivery of drugs to cancer and (2) the interrogation of molecular interaction with the goal of identifying new targets and therapeutic agents. Among the nanomaterials used in the lab to develop these technologies are those based on iron oxide, cerium oxide, gold and polymeric nanoparticles.

  • Cancer imaging, diagnostics and nanotherapeutics for prostate and breast cancer treatment
  • Development of novel nanoparticle platforms to interrogate biological systems and discover new biological interactions
  • Design of novel activatable imaging probes
  • Pathogen and toxin detection using nanoparticle platforms
  • Design new nanoparticles technologies using iron oxide, cerium oxide and hyperbranched polymeric nanoparticles among others

Current Funding

  • NIH/NIGMS R01: An integrated NMR/magnetic nanosensor system for detection of bacteria and toxins
    Funding Period: 9/2008-8/2013

Previous Funding

  • NIH/NCI K01-Career Award: Development of magnetic sensors for MRI cancer research
    Funding Period: 8/2003-7/2008

Select Publications


Kaittanis, C., Shaffer, T. M., Ogirala, A., Santra, S., Perez, J. M., Chiosis. G., Li, Y., Josephson, L., Grimm, J. Environment-responsive nanophores for therapy and treatment monitoring via molecular MRI quenching, Nature Comm. 2014, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4384.

Lee MW, Bassiouni R, Sparrow NA, Iketani A, Boohaker, RJ, Moskowitz C, Vishnubhotla P, Khaled AS, Oyer J, Copik A, Fernandez-Valle C, Perez JM and Khaled, AR. “The CT20 Peptide Causes Detachment and Death of Metastatic Breast Cancer Cells by Promoting Mitochondrial Aggregation and Cytoskeletal Disruption, Cell Death & Disease 2014, 5, e1249; doi:10.1038/cddis.2014.225.

Wang, W., Ji, X., Na, H.B., Safi, M., Smith, A., Palui, G., Perez, J. M., Mattoussi, H. Design of a multi-dopamine-modified polymer ligand optimally suited for interfacing magnetic nanoparticles with biological systems, Langmuir 2014, 30, 6197-6208.

Santiesteban, O.J., Kaittanis, C., Perez, J. M. “Identification of toxin inhibitors using a magnetic nanosensor-based assay”, Small 2014, 10, 1202-1211.


Wang, Q., Perez, J.M., Webster, T.J. Inhibited growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by dextran- and polyacrylic acid-coated ceria nanoparticles, Inter. J. of Nanomedicine 2013, 8 3395-3399.

Likun Yang, Gobalakrishnan Sundaresan, Minghao Sun, Purnima Jose, David Hoffman, Philip Reed McDonagh, Narottam Lamichhane, Cathy S. Cutler, J. Manuel Perez and Jamal Zweit, Intrinsically radiolabeled multifunctional cerium oxide nanoparticles for in vivo studies, J. Mater Chem. B 2013, 1, 1421-1431.


Santra, S., Jativa, S.D., Kaittanis C., Santiesteban, Normand, G. Grimm, J., Perez, J.M. Gadolinium-Encapsulating Iron Oxide Nanoprobe as Activatable NMR/MRI Contrast Agent, ACS Nano 2012, 8, 7281-7294

Asati, A., Lehmkuhl, D., Diaz, D., Perez, J.M. Nanoceria Facilitates the Synthesis of Poly(o-phenylenediamine) with pH-Tunable Morphology, Conductivity, and Photoluminescent Properties. Langmuir 2012,28, 13066-13071

Boohaker, R.J., Zhang, G., Lee, M.W., Nemec, K.N., Santra, S., Perez, J.M., Khaled, A.R. Rational development of a cytotoxic peptide to trigger cell death, Mol. Pharmaceutics 2012, 9, 2080-2093

Kaittanis, C., Boukhriss, H., Santra S., Naser, S. A., Perez, J.M. Rapid and sensitive detection of an intracellularpathogen in human peripheral leukocytes with hybridizing magnetic relaxation nanosensors, PLOS One, 2012, 7(4): e35326. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035326

Santiesteban, O.J., Kaittanis, C, Santra S., Perez, J.M. Assessment of molecular interactions through magnetic relaxation, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 6728-6732

Kaittanis, C, Santra S., Asati, A., Perez, J.M. A cerium oxide nanoparticle-based device for the detection of chronic inflammation via optical and magnetic resonance imaging, Nanoscale 2012, 4, 2117


Santra, S., Kaittanis C., Santiesteban, O.J., Perez J.M. Cell-Specific, Activatable, and Theranostic Prodrug for Dual-Targeted Cancer Imaging and Therapy, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 16680-16688

Santra, S., Perez J.M. Selective N-Alkylation of Β-Alanine Facilitates the Synthesis of a Poly(amino acid)-Based Theranostic Nanoagent, Biomacromolecules 2011, 12, 3917-3927

Kaittanis, C, Santra S., Santiesteban, O.J., Henderson, T., Perez, J.M. The assembly state between magnetic nanosensors and their targets orchestrates their magnetic relaxation response, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011,133, 3668-3676

Asati, A., Kaittanis, C., Santra S., Perez, J.M. pH-tunable oxidase-like activity of cerium oxide nanoparticles achieving sensitive fluorigenic detection of cancer biomarkers at neutral pH, Anal. Chem. 2011, 83, 2547-2553

Kaittanis, C, Banerjee, T., Santra S., Santiesteban, O.J., Teter, K., Perez, J.M. Identification of molecular mimicry based ligands for cholera diagnostics using magnetic relaxation, Bioconj. Chem. 2011, 22, 307-314


Asati, A., Santra S., Kaittanis, C, Perez, J.M. Surface-Charge-Dependent Cell Localization and Cytotoxicity of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles, ACS Nano 2010, 4, 5321-5331

Santra, S., Kaittanis C., Perez J.M. Cytochrome c Encapsulating Theranostic Nanoparticles: A Novel Bifunctional System for targeted delivery of therapeutic membrane-impermeable proteins to tumors and imaging of cancer therapy, Mol. Pharmaceutics 2010, 7, 1209-1222.

Santra, S., Kaittanis C., Perez J.M. Aliphatic hyperbranched polyester: A new building block in the construction of multifunctional nanoparticles and nanocomposites, Langmuir 2010, 26, 5364-5373.


Kaittanis C., Santra, S., Perez J.M. Role of Nanoparticle Valency in the Nondestructive Magnetic-Relaxation-Mediated Detection and Magnetic Isolation of Cells in Complex Media, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 12780-12791.

Ma, L., Hong, Y., Ma, Z., Kaittanis, C., Perez, J. M. Su, M. Multiplexed highly sensitive detections of cancer biomarkers in thermal space using encapsulated phase change nanoparticles, Appl. Phys. Lett. 2009, 95, 043701.

Banerjee, S., Kar, S., Perez, J. M., Santra, S. Quantum Dot-Based OFF/ON Probe for Detection of Glutathione, J. Phys. Chem. C. 2009, 113, 9659-9663.

Santra, S., Kaittanis C., Grimm J. and Perez J.M. Drug/Dye-Loaded, Multifunctional Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Combined Targeted Cancer Therapy and Dual Optical/MR-Imaging, Small 2009, 5, 1862-1868.

Nath, S., Kaittanis, C., Ramachandran V., Dalal. N.S., Perez, J.M. Synthesis, magnetic characterization and sensing applications of novel dextran-coated iron oxide nanorods, Chem. Mat. 2009, 21, 1761-1767.

Asati, A., Santra S., Kaittanis, C, Nath S. Perez, J.M. Oxidase-like activity of polymer-coated cerium oxide nanoparticles, Angew Chem., Int. Ed. 2009, 48, 2308-2312.


Kaittanis, C., Nath, S., Perez J.M. Rapid nanoparticle-mediated monitoring of bacterial metabolic activity and assessment of antimicrobial susceptibility in blood with magnetic relaxation, PLOS One 2008, 3(9), e3253.

Perez J.M. Grimm, J, Josephson, L, Weissleder, R. Integrated nanosensors to determine levels and functional activity of human telomerase, Neoplasia 2008, 10, 1066-1072.

Perez, J.M., Asati, A., Nath, S., Kaittanis, A. Synthesis of biocompatible dextran-coated nanoceria with pH-dependent antioxidant properties, Small 2008, 4, 552-556.

Nath, S., Kaittanis, C., Tinkham, A., Perez J.M. Dextran coated gold nanoparticles for the assessment of antimicrobial susceptibility, Anal. Chem 2008, 80, 1033-1038


Kaittanis, C., Saleh, A. N., Perez J.M. One-step, nanoparticle-mediated Bacterial Detection with Magnetic Relaxation, NanoLetters 2007, 7, 380-383.

Rabin, O*., Perez, J.M*., Grimm, J., Wojtkiewicz, G., Weissleder, R. An X-ray computed tomography imaging agent based on long-circulating bismuth sulphide nanoparticles, Nature Mat. 2006, 5, 118-122.


14. McCarthy, J.R., Perez, J.M. , Bruckner C, Weissleder, R. Polymeric Nanoparticle Preparation that Erradicate Tumors, NanoLetters 2005, 5, 2552-2556.

Tsorkas, A., Newton, G., Perez, J.M., Basilion, J.P., Weissleder, R. Detection of Peroxidase/H2O2-Mediated Oxidation with Enhanced Yellow Fluorescence Protein, Anal. Chem. 2005, 77, 2862-2867.

Perez, J.M., Simeone, F.J., Tsourkas, A., Josephson, L, Weissleder, R. Peroxidase substrate nanosensors for MR imaging, NanoLetters, 2004, 4, 119-122.

Grimm, J., Perez, J.M., Josephson, L; Weissleder, R. Novel nanosensor for rapid analysis of telomerase activity, Cancer Research 2004; 64, 639-643.

Perez, J.M., Simeone, F.J., Josephson, L; Weissleder, R. Viral-induced self-assembly of magnetic nanoparticles allows the detection of viral particles in biological media, J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 2003; 125:10192-10193.

Perez, J.M., Josephson, L, O'Loughin,T., Hogemann, D., Weissleder, R. Magnetic relaxation switches capable of sensing molecular interactions, Nature Biotech., 2002; 20:816-820.

Perez, J.M., O'Loughin,T., Simeone, F.J., Weissleder, R., Josephson, L. DNA-based Magnetic Nanoparticle Assembly Acts as Magnetic relaxation Nanoswitch Allowing Screening of DNA Cleaving Agents, J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 2002; 124:2856-2857.

Josephson, L., Perez, J. M, Weissleder, R. Magnetic Nanosensors for the Detection of Oligonucleotide Sequences, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2001; 40 (17), 3204-3206.


  • BCH 4054 Biochemistry II
  • MCB 4932 / IDS 5937 Foundations of Bio-imaging Science
  • BSC 3424 Nanobiotechnology

Awards, Honors, & Societies

  • NCI Career Award (K01)
  • Member, American Association for Cancer Research
  • Member, American Chemical Society
  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
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