Miquel Macias Contreras
– Brain in a Star –
Department – Chemistry and Biochemistry (Graduate Student) –
Research Field – Organic Chemistry –
How image was captured – Confocal Microscopy –
Research Impact & Significance – One of the research projects in our group involves the synthesis of organelle-targetable hybrid zinc fluorescent sensors. Hybrid sensors are formed by a small fluorescent probe and the substrate of a genetically encoded tag. The main benefit of a genetic approach is the ability to selectively label intracellular structures, and thus, we can direct our probes into specific intracellular locations to sense zinc(II). Zinc(II) ions concentration is relevant to many biological processes; with our studies, we want to facilitate the understanding of zinc(II) ions role in biology by providing a useful method to determine zinc(II) concentration in various organelles. By using sensors emitting at different wavelengths, our method could be used in the dynamic and simultaneous determination of zinc(II) concentration. In our laboratory we also work with fluorescent proteins. We transfect mammalian cells and visualize the fluorescent proteins using a confocal microscope. We mainly use the fluorescent proteins in training experiments, as contrasting agents for our small fluorescent probes studies and to take pretty images!