Photostimulation is the application of light to living biological cells in order to alter their behaviour by modifying their chemical properties. This can involve applying chemicals to the sample such as caged molecules and then using light to open the cage to invoke a reaction or by instigating a response in chemicals already present within the cells. The most common use of the latter method is in the activation of a light-sensitive protein such as rhodopsin, which can then excite the cell expressing the opsin. Recently, researchers at the Laboratory for Scientific Instrumentation and Engineering have used laser sources to stimulate other biological processes such as calcium waves in live cells. However, the laser systems currently used by researchers at LaSIE for this procedure only permits spatially precise photostimulation in live, dissociated cells and not in thick biological tissue. The development of laser technology to allow three-dimensional control over the photostimulated region deep within thick tissue samples would greatly extend the capability of this technique, with the longer-term potential of in vivo photostimulation at depth. This approach, which would be compatible with current bio-imaging techniques, would offer a new method to study fundamental properties of cells and their behaviour in a less invasive manner than is currently possible. The overseas visit of Dr Gail McConnell and Mr Elric Esposito is proposed to plan a collaborative research project to develop laser technology dedicated to spatially-localised, deep-tissue photostimulation. This would involve learning more about the practical techniques associated with photostimulation of live cells from researchers at LaSIE and the exploration of collaborative funding opportunities to pursue this project. It is intended that Mr Esposito would perform the project at the Centre for Biophotonics as the appointed post-doctoral research fellow, with collaborative support from Dr Nicholas Smith at LaSIE as the project partner and the host of our intended visit.
|Effective start/end date||1/04/08 → 30/04/08|
- EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £6,418.00