We develop novel methods, typically based on light, to study biology and biomaterials at the nanoscale. Our main research lines are:
- Novel methods for super-resolution imaging: super-resolution fluorescence microscopy techniques are able to image (biological) structures with a spatial resolution of tens of nm, one order of magnitude better than standard fluorescence microscopy. In our group, we develop novel methods that extend the application of super-resolution microscopy. A few years ago we were able to image for the first time directly-labelled DNA with a spatial resolution below 40 nm (ChemPhysChem 2009, 10, 2201; J. Microscopy 2013, 251, 1). More recently, we have implemented a novel microscope that allows us to correlate in situ super-resolution fluorescence imaging and atomic force microscopy (ChemPhysChem 2014, 15, 647). We are using this setup to study a range of nano/biomaterials, for example amyloid-like protein fibers (Small 2017, 13, 1603784).
- Photosensitizing fluorescent proteins for advanced microscopy: this project aims at developing improved light-responsive proteins capable of generating singlet oxygen, a particular form of reactive oxygen species that plays a crucial role in cell signalling and phototherapeutic applications. The possibility to have precise genetic control of the protein localization and thus the site of singlet oxygen generation is attracting much interest given its strong potential for applications in microscopy, optogenetics and photodynamic therapy (JACS 2013, 135, 9564; Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 8405).