Using Light to Probe and Manipulate Biology: Photophysical Challenges and Molecular Solutions
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Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 4:30pm
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Light-induced bond cleavage/formation plays an increasingly important role in biological research and biomedical applications.1-4 Light has been used to control the conversion of appropriately designed photo-responsive inactive drugs/biological reagents to their corresponding active forms, their delivery to specific tissues, cells, and organelles, and the means to do so with a high degree of temporal resolution. However, the photo-responsive species described to date are typically triggered by UV/short visible wavelengths. Short wavelengths suffer a number of disadvantages, including inflicting biological damage, a limited penetrating path length in tissue, 5 and the inability to orthogonally control multiple species at distinct wavelengths. Indeed, a recent review noted that two key challenges remain to be surmounted to move this field forward: “extending the wavelength coverage for activation…..with visible and infrared light and improving the absorption properties for wavelength-selective, orthogonal activation, and melding these features”.1 A surprisingly simple solution to these challenges along with applications to drug delivery, cell remodeling, and material fabrication will be discussed.