Development of probes for biological redox state
Perturbations in biological redox state can lead to a range of pathological conditions, from hypertensive diseases to diabetes to congenital birth defects. If we can gain a better understanding of how the redox state is perturbed in these conditions, we can learn how they develop and how they can be treated. We are developing small molecule probes for studying biological redox, and applying these probes to answer questions of biological relevance.
This project will involve the design, synthesis and application of small molecule redox sensors, in two main directions. (1) We will develop Gd-based MRI probes that report on redox state by changes in the relaxivity of water protons. After performing spectroscopic studies of solutions and cell suspensions, we will test our probes in commercial MRI machines, before applying them to in vivo models of disease, including cardiovascular pathologies. (2) We will design organic fluorescent probes containing one or two fluorophores. We will study the photophysical properties of our systems, which will enable us to improve upon our probe design. Promising probes will be used to study models of disease, including diabetes, in cultured cells.
This project is suited to students with an interest in applications of chemistry in biology. Research will involve chemical synthesis, spectroscopy and simple cellular studies, with collaborations in place for the study of more complex biological systems.
Funding is available for local or international students for postgraduate study.
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The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1514