From fundamental mechanisms to cancer detection with the help of advanced fluorescence spectrometer

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Molecular & Cellular Biology

Abstract

Fluorescence is a sensitive tool for analytical and imaging techniques ranging from single molecule detection, ligand binding assays to cellular and in vivo imaging. These techniques rely on application and development of fluorescence probes, e.g. fluorescent dyes, proteins and quantum dots. Development and deployment of these probes requires quantitative characterisation by time resolved fluorescent spectroscopy. Recent advances in laser technology and electronics brought about a step change in instrumentation. In order to harness this new potential in our research, which encompasses engineering of quantum dots for biomedical imaging, design of biosensors for pathogen detection and use of fluorescence probes in elucidating mechanisms of molecular machines, we propose to acquire a state of the art instrument and provide training and technical assistance to a wide community of users

Technical Summary

Fluorescence underpins many analytical and imaging techniques ranging from sensitive single molecule detection, ligand binding assays to cellular and in vivo imaging. These techniques rely on application and development of fluorescence probes, e.g. fluorescent dyes, proteins and quantum dots. Development and deployment of these probes requires quantitative characterisation by time resolved fluorescent spectroscopy. Recent advances in pulsed laser sources together with new detectors and photon counting electronics brought about a step change in instrumentation. In order to capitalise on these developments and support our research and applications of fluorescent probes we request funds to acquire an advanced spectrofluorometer PTI Quantamaster (Horiba) with sub-nanosecond time resolution, supercontinuum laser source and spectral range spanning UV/VIS to the near infrared region (950-1700 nm) that is relevant for characterisation of quantum dots, biosensors and biomedical imaging in whole organisms.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from the new research instrumentation?
In first place it will be the current users of the existing research infrastructure since they will be able quickly adapt the protocols to the new instrument. In addition, a wider community of users, including industrial collaborators and new users from outside the university will be able to receive training and technical assistance with their projects. As part of our agreement with Horiba UK we will serve as a demonstration site for potential customers, attracting external interest from other academic users and industry. This will have impact on adoption of the advanced technology throughout the UK.
The research which will be enabled by the new technology will primarily benefit the industrial biotechnology sector, e.g. production of new biopharmaceuticals and diagnostic devices. In the longer term it will also yield new, non-toxic probes for optical imaging in deep tissues which in certain circumstances may replace expensive MRI and X-ray imaging with affordable, compact, and portable optical devices. This will have positive impact on patient care and wellbeing, assisting cost effective and rapid diagnosis.
New biosensors, developed with the help of the instrumentation, will find applications in food safety (e.g. detection of pathogens), security (e.g. detection of biological agents and toxic chemicals) and early diagnosis (e.g. blood screening for
How will they benefit from this research?
Efficient use and adoption of the new technology by a wide user base will be facilitated by our partnership with Horiba which selected us as a demonstration site for their flagship fluorescence technology. Through this partnership we will be able to reach a wider base of potential users and deliver effective training.
We will work with our biopharmaceutical and SME industrial partners on applications of the technology, helping to solve their pending problem in producing new biopharmaceuticals, tissue probes and biosensors. This will be done through CASE studentships and ongoing partnerships.

Publications

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Title A custom made fluorescence life time instrument equipped with white light picosecond laser 
Description We have commissioned a custom configuration of an advanced spectrofluorometer equipped with a white light picosecond laser for time resolved studies and imaging. The broad spectrum of the laser together with near-infrared sensitivity of the optical and detection components make it suitable for characterization and imaging of composite nanoparticles in a variety of environments, such as solid state, tissues or fluids. A bespoke software integration makes the setup readily accessible to users from different disciplines. We are currently working with the supplier Horiba U.K. Ltd to plan the delivery and training in mid April. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact N/A