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Grant will Study Live Cells in Real Time, 3-D


ME Associate Professor Ann Marie Sastry ( ) and Dr. Martin Phielbert of the School of Public Health are the co-leaders of a path-breaking collaborative effort of University of Michigan researchers that will attempt to capture never-before-seen views of the chemical activity inside living cells in real time and 3-D. The three-year project brings together public health, engineering, chemistry, biology, physics and statistics with support from a $1.5 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation in Los Angeles. The University of Michigan has committed an additional $500,000 to the project.

Sastry’s and Philbert’s collaborators include Dr. Raoul Kopelman (Kasimir Fajans Collegiate Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Applied Physics in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts), Dr. Christian M. Lastoskie (Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering), Dr. Carol Fierke (Biological Chemistry and Chemistry, College of Literature, Science and the Arts), and Dr. Dennis Thiele (Biological Chemistry, Medical School).

The U-M team will be using synthetic nanoprobes small enough to fit inside a cell without interrupting its normal functions to measure the activity of crucial metal ions like zinc and copper as the cell works. Sophisticated statistical modeling programs will be used to interpret data that look something like a swarm of fast-moving fruit flies zinging around a bowl of fruit. More information on their interdisciplinary research effort can be found at:

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