Biological Studies with Advanced Microscopy
Second Harmonic Imaging of Collagen
Collagen, the most important structural protein in the body, is a strong generator of optical second harmonics - that is, light at half the wavelength of the illuminating light. This can be used to identify and characterise collagen in tissue. Out work is based around measuring the directional and polarization properties of the signal from different types of collagen, and on finding biological and medical applications for the technique.
Properties and Function of Coral Fluorescent Pigments
Corals contain brightly coloured fluorescent proteins, which are involved in protection against excessive sunlight. These proteins have found many uses in cell biology since they can be expressed in other living cells and used as molecular tags. We are studying their function in coral ecology and physiology and also investigating the behaviour of newly-identified proteins which change colour when irradiated at specific wavelengths.
Single-Molecule Electrical Studies of DNA on Silicon Surfaces
Understanding how electrons flow through single molecules is important in several areas: fabricating nanoelectronic devices and sensors; specially rationalising electron transfer (ET) in biological molecules. The nature of electrical transport along the DNA duplex is important in understanding DNA damage in vivo and in exploring the possible use of DNA in molecular electronics and direct detection of DNA hybridisation. This project aims to investigate ET properties of single DNA molecules as 'molecular wires' on silicon surface – and increase our understanding of the role of surfaces on the ET behaviour. This study will also attempt to exploit the fundamental knowledge gained to fabricate novel molecular electronic devices that utilise ET.
Collaborators: Prof. Justin Gooding (School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales)