University of Adelaide to Set Up Nanoscale Biophotonics Center

University of Adelaide to Set Up A$23m Nanoscale Biophotonics Center

23 December 2013

A new Center of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics is soon to come into being at the University of Adelaide thanks to a A$23 million grant provided by the Australian Research Council, the university revealed last week.

The center will draw together researchers from the University of Adelaide and Macquarie University, as well as local and international partners. Their work will focus on the development of technologies that could help create "a window into the body" by monitoring molecular processes within living organisms, using light-based sensors. The center will be headed by Tanya Monro, professor at the university housing the new research center, who believes that its establishment will raise awareness about nanoscale events in living systems, delivering valuable insights into reproductive health, the immune system and cardiovascular health.

The center has outlined three main themes that will guide its research activities. One of them is The Spark of Life, which will see the scientists examine ways to sense in and around developing embryos. The second theme is Origins of Sensation which will involve research into immune signals linked to touch and pain in the central nervous system. Work encompassing studies of the role of the endothelium within blood vessels and the detrimental effects of plaque will be carried out under the third theme, Inside Blood Vessels.

Research in the center will be structured under four interconnected themes, the statement said. These will be Illuminate (creating new light sources for probing biomolecules), Recognize (developing smart surfaces for photonic structures and nanoparticles), Measure (creating nanophotonic structures that could stimulate light-matter interactions at the nanoscale for biological measurement) and Discover (using novel molecular sensors for detecting molecular changes for measurement).