Cardiff, Wales-- Physicist Dr. Paola Borri of the Cardiff School of Biosciences at Cardiff University has won a £1.1M Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Leadership Award for the next five years, which she will use to develop a new "optical nanoscopy" technology to determine the intrinsic chemical composition of nanoscale regions in living cells. It will allow living cells to be studied in greater detail without the need for fluorescent staining, which is used in current techniques and can affect the cells being studied.
The new technology should open the way to studying a range of biological and medical problems that are impossible with present technology. These include questions about cell membranes, which may have implications for HIV and influenza. The technique should also help with IVF and cancer research, where fluorophore labeling cannot be used.
EPSRC Leadership Fellowships support talented researchers with the potential to develop into international leaders who can set new research agendas. The Fellowship will support her own research, along with a research associate, two Ph.D.s and resources for a research program, and the School of Biosciences is backing up the award by introducing a lecturership post as part of the team.