Research Fellows Directory
Dr Lorenzo Mognon
Imperial College London
Carbon monoxide (CO) is known for its toxicity by inhalation so it is perhaps surprising that it is naturally generated in the body in very small amounts, and used as a gaseous messenger to regulate cellular processes. Abnormal levels of CO in cells are also associated to the occurrence of diseases and tumours. Since these discoveries, much remains unknown about its role and mode of action, partly due to the difficulty in detecting very small amounts of CO in cells. This project applies the successful design of sensitive and selective probes for CO sensing in air to the monitoring of this gas in cells. Detection by microscope will be achieved using the response of the probe, which fluoresces (‘lights up’) with CO under UV light. In a complementary approach, a porous network material will be filled with a cargo of fluorescent dye and the pores ‘stoppered’ by the probes described above. The CO in the cells will react with the stoppers and cause them to detach from the pores, allowing large amounts of the fluorescent dyes to escape (and 'light up'). Thus, a small stimulus of CO will lead to an amplified response, easing the detection of this gas in small amounts in cells.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)