B.Sc. (University of Washington, Seattle, 1997)
Ph.D. (University of California, San Diego, 2003)
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow (Yale University, 2003-2006)
Professor: Assistant, Associate, Full (University of Zürich, 2006-2019)
- Organic Chemistry
- Chemical Biology
Fluorescent probes have revolutionized the study of biological macromolecules in their native environments. However, as compared to the extensive methodologies developed for proteins, relatively few imaging strategies are currently available for cellular nucleic acids. These methods are limited by their negative impact on native systems and/or inability to be applied in live cells and animals. Our group is therefore developing non-toxic fluorescent probes capable of characterizing the structure, function, and dynamics of nucleic acids in vivo. Daily work in our lab involves the design and synthesis of new fluorophores, nucleosides and oligonucleotides. In some cases, novel synthetic approaches are needed to obtain our target molecules. Next, extensive biological, photophysical and biophysical studies are used to characterize the candidates’ potentials to report nucleic acid structures and dynamics. Finally, promising compounds are evaluated in cell cultures and whole animals using fluorescence-based imaging. Some of the metabolic probes and methods developed in our lab have been commercialized by Sigma Aldrich and widely used by other research groups working in the fields of regenerative medicine, genome architecture, stem cell biology, and virology. Promising new applications of our probes include the development of diagnostic probes for personalized cancer therapy.