Spotlighting Near-Infrared Probes

Spotlighting Near-Infrared Probes

Proteins engineered from natural photoreceptors, which sense light of the near-infrared part of the light spectrum, can be activated through the skin in deep tissues of living animals. This makes them valuable tools for noninvasively imaging, assessing and manipulating biological processes. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded Vladislav Verkhusha, Ph.D., a five-year, $2 million grant to develop new near-infrared fluorescence proteins, biosensors and optogenetic tools. Using directed molecular evolution, Dr. Verkhusha will first design these genetically encoded probes from bacterial photoreceptors. He will then use those near-infrared optical probes and molecular tools in novel ways for studying molecular interactions, cellular physiology and tissue metabolism in development, cancer, and in neurological and infectious diseases in both humans and animals. Dr. Verkhusha is professor of anatomy and structural biology. (1R35GM122567)

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