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PHOQUS to Focus on Cells and Disease

DUNDEE, Scotland, Feb. 24, 2014 — The European Commission (EU) has awarded nearly €4 million in funding for investigations on the relationships between cellular processes and disease.

The EU has awarded the University of Dundee a €3.8 million (about $5.2 million) grant, part of the FP7 Marie Curie Innovative Doctoral Programme, to fund the PHOQUS (PHOtonic tools for Quantitative imaging in tissUeS) project. This will further development of state-of-the-art live-cell and tissue-imaging methodologies, and use them to better understand the complex cellular processes underlying embryonic development and disease.

A three-year initiative, the project will enlist 13 Ph.D. fellows who will work with leading researchers from the Dundee’s College of Life Sciences (CLS), College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing (CMDN), and College of Art, Science and Engineering (CASE).

The project enables the quantitative investigation of biological processes at multiple size regimes, from the molecular and cellular to the tissue and organ levels.

The researchers will for the first time be trained in life or medical sciences, or physics and engineering to seamlessly integrate photonics, nanotechnology, advanced spectroscopy and novel spectral regions with the latest advances in live imaging and diagnostics.

The photonics focus on new tools and sources will create opportunities to investigate the mechanisms and nuclear dynamics that control spindle formation and chromosome separation during mitosis as well as cell migration dynamics and mechanics during early embryonic development and the development of cancer, project coordinators said.

“[We will] develop new photonics tools that will feed into the design and development of smaller, more cost-effective instruments that can investigate the cellular and molecular dynamics which drive the critical cell behaviors such as division, differentiation and cell movement,” said Kees Weijer, a professor at Dundee’s CLS and a coordinator of the PHOQUS project, adding that this initiative removes the historic barriers that have existed between disciplines.

For more information, visit: www.phoqus.eu


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