Dr. Abebe Awarded $381k for Cell Imaging Research

Image showing cells stained to illustrate the Golgi apparatus, the microtubules and DNA. Image credit: The National Institutes of Health https://www.nih.gov/sites/default/files/styles/featured_media_breakpoint-medium/public/news-events/news-releases/2013/20130807-HeLa-flourescent.jpg?itok=usWAjG8a&timestamp=1438704235
Image of cells made with fluorescent microscopy. Image credit: nih.gov

Dr. Fasil Abebe, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, has won a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to carry out his project, “Excellence in Research: Near-Infrared Molecular Probes as Potential Tools for Bioimaging.” The project aims to develop nano-scale fluorescent probes for rapid imaging of cells at the molecular level.

Dr. Fasil Abebe
Dr. Fasil Abebe

Our understanding of the biological processes of living cells and how they interact with their environment depends in many ways on our ability to produce detailed and precise images of them at microscopic scales. Fluorescence microscopy, a fundamental tool of modern biology, achieves this by applying dyes that react with the targeted molecules to give off specific wavelengths of light when exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Dr. Abebe’s project will develop new fluorescent dyes or “probes” that can be used to rapidly produce precise images of the targeted metal ions making it possible to identify, visualize and quantify various metal ions in living cells.

The techniques developed through Dr. Abebe’s project will have a wide array of applications across biology, the biomedical sciences, and materials science. The NSF grant will provide a total of $381,086 in support for the project over the period of August 15, 2021 to July 31, 2024.