High resolution ¡maging of living cells and subcellular components is essential for functional and structural genomics'. Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) has evolved into the imaging method of choice that yields the greatest structural details on biological samples such as proteins, nucleotides, membranes and cells in their native, aqueous environment and at ambient conditions. In addition, due to its high lateral resolution and sensitive force detection capability, the exciting possibility of measuring inte r- and intra-molecular forces of bio-molecules on the single molecule level has become possible, leading to new possibilities for the evolution of methods that will enable us to examine the physiological consequences of, even, the interaction of a single l igand molecule with its cognate receptor. In this project we propose to develop Scanning Probe Microscopy to advance the state of the art of this technique. With the support of the Sixth Framework program, Scanning Probe Microscopy is ready to become a mat ure imaging and measurement platform for cell biology that will become as widespread in the biomedicai laboratory as the confocal microscope, adding value to the European scientific instrument market and giving it a major presence worldwide.'
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