Notre Dame Smith Group tradition is to serve our newly defended doctoral students a cake. The massive carb load prepares them for the heavy burden of carrying a Dr. in front of their name. In days of yore a simple pastry of austere design was consumed, but the decorations have grown, and now, newly minted doctors are served a cake cheekily festooned with a sugary rendition of their graduate research. Taken together, one can see the evolution of Smith group projects over the years upon these confections.



What appetite isn’t stoked by sizzing meat? Well, Dr. Kara Harmaty’s cake features a mouse tumor being ablated with a near-infrared laser. Bon appetit!


Dr. Doug Rice’s cake is crawling with excited critters! There’s leishmaniasis parasites, cationic bacteria, and a mouse probably infected with one of them.


Mice are popular in the Smith lab! Dr. Kasey Clear has one bearing a tumor, which is being imaged with a zinc-dipocylamine conjugated fluorophore.


Hey, it’s a cake without a mouse! Dr. Evan Peck’s cake instead is showcasing Synthavidin technology (aka SynthEvadin Pecknology) with iminodiacetate groups for bone imaging.


Dr. Wenqi (Vince) Liu is showcasing a lot on this aesthetically pleasing confection. A flu detection system at the top threads when an enzyme cleaves a stopper. This causes a change you can see with a laser! Also gold capture something something patent pending.


The best cake to date (and let’s be honest, in perpetuity) was enjoyed by Dr. Scott Shaw. It features a Synthavidin functionalized liposome membrane, some RGD-targeted probes, a cancer cell justĀ filled with those probes, and a microscope to image it all.


Back to mice! On Dr. Felicia Roland’s cake, they’re being injected with a ZnDPA Synthavidin probe. A squaraine coated gold core nanoparticle is also seen. There’s also a croconaine dye, and a squaraine dye hiding off in the flower garden. Mice, yum!