"The primary aim of the proposed research is to develop smart new imaging tools and reagents for real-time in situ monitoring of specific cellular processes both in vitro and in vivo, with a particular focus on lung function and apoptosis/inflammation. The methods and tools currently available to define the inflammatory/infective state in lung tissues are limited and crude. Therefore, I will design, synthesise and validate novel clinical molecular imaging probes which can, in the future, be used to define the inflammatory and infective aetiology of lung infiltrates in intensive care unit patients. These dual probes would allow clinicians in intensive care units to rapidly and accurately determine the aetiology of deteriorating respiratory function or clinical status of the patient. These activity-based probes are designed to detect caspase, human neutraphil elastase as well as bacterial presence and activity in the target tissue. The research will be conducted at the interface of chemistry, biology and pre-clinical medicine, with molecules being made and then directly applied in pertinent in vivo models. In addition to the imaging work, I will develop an efficient, selective and generic labelling method for proteins."
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