Developing electron microscopy methods for mapping the effects of therapeutics on cells

Quantitative imaging and spectroscopy in the electron microscope can now reveal the structure and chemical composition of materials at atomic resolution.  There  exists an exciting opportunity to translate these capabilities to the problem of mapping elements within cells, and in particular to determine how therapeutic treatments affect elemental distributions.  Our initial work has focused on the effects of chemotherapeutics on neuron cells to explore why chemotherapy treatments can induce pain in fingers and toes which can limit treatment.  We have shown that it is possible to image Pt (which is in several chemotherapeutics), Ca, K and Na in cells.  The aim of this work is to develop methods to push detection limits down through experiment design and advanced data processing.  The project would suit someone with a physical science background who is interested in experimental design and data processing methods, but would like an interdisciplinary project with potential benefits for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

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