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Moore Foundation Awards ASU Researchers $1.8M to Develop Microscopy Technology

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded researchers at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute $1.8 million for the development of new microscopy technology for capturing molecular-level events in living systems.

The funding for three years was awarded to Nongjian Tao for a project titled "Label-free imaging and tracking of single protein-protein interactions" and will be used to develop a microscopy system based, in part, on plasmonic resonance. Tao directs Biodesign's Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors.

He and his fellow researchers will develop a fast and low-noise plasmonic imaging system that can resolve fine structures and follow the transport of sub-cellular features "with startling precision, with temporal resolution in the sub-millisecond range," ASU said.

According to the university, the technology will allow researchers to observe "a specimen's form" at a molecular level and to investigate chemical reactions and charge-related properties of living systems.

As part of the project, Tao will track the movement of mitochondria in a living cell, which could lead to new insights into the interaction of motor proteins between mitochondria and microtubules, as well as other molecular-scale events.