Prof. Tia Keyes, an IPIC Principal Investigator and a professor of physical chemistry at the School of Chemical Sciences as well as a member of the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University, has been awarded one of the prestigious research grants through SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme.

Prof. Keyes was one of 26 successful candidates announced on November 2 by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD.

A project led by Prof. Keyes at Dublin City University will develop probes that highlight specific stretches of DNA inside living cells, which will have applications in assessing cell damage during screening of new drug candidates.

When asked about the significance of her work, Prof. Keyes explained ‘Optical microscopy has advanced dramatically over the past 20 years to the point where it is now possible to resolve and follow single biomolecules within living cells.  However, to work optimally, these methods require probes; light emitting molecules, that can spontaneously enter the cell, target the site of interest, and that have been specifically designed to withstand tough imaging conditions while responding in readable ways to their environment.  This programme will design new molecular tools for use with super-resolution microscopy methods.  The molecules are built with zip-coded structures in the design that promotes their transport into living cells and tumors and precisely directs them to destinations where they target DNA and other biomolecules. These tools will provide new insights into our cells biochemistry, response to molecular therapeutics and light based therapy for disease’.

For more details on the SFI Frontiers awards and a complete list of successful awardees please visit SFI’s News page.