Developing a Novel Biological Imaging Technology for Biomedical Applications

Initiator Fund

Project period: February – May 2016

GW4 Community Leads
University of Bath: Christopher R Pudney, Ventsi Valev
University of Bristol: Dafydd Jones
University of Exeter: Christian Soeller

Project overview

We aim to tackle the most fundamental challenge in modern protein science by developing a way to see changes in protein structure and flexibility inside cells.

It is now common to be able to determine the structure of proteins. However, proteins are highly dynamic and flexible. This flexibility defines much of what they can do and is important for disease states.

There has been some progress in understanding protein flexibility, but these studies are made on the lab bench rather than on proteins inside cells. There is evidence that the environment inside cells influences the structure and flexibility of proteins. This means that the biomedical relevance of such lab bench studies are questionable as they likely do not represent the natural situation in the body.

We want to be able to see changes in protein flexibility and structure inside cells. To do this we will build on recently developed microscopy approaches and advances in optical physics to deliver a truly unique technology.

Once we have demonstrated the technology we will be able to use it to identify new drug targets and to develop more effective pharmaceuticals.