The rapid evolution of fluorescence imaging techniques in recent years demands fluorophores with enhanced brightness and photostability. This evolution, particularly in biomolecular labeling and super-resolution imaging techniques, has facilitated fluorescence imaging with single-molecule precision in numerous biological and biomedical studies. However, many existing fluorophores lack sufficient brightness and photostability for single-molecule and live-cell imaging. Rational molecular engineering of fluorophores, based on a deep understanding of their working mechanism, is thus crucial and imperative to yield novel fluorophores with superior brightness and photostability.
This project aims to understand major photo-bleaching (degradation) processes in organic fluorophores, through both computational and experimental studies. Based on this rational understanding, we aim to design and develop new classes of fluorophores that possess outstanding performance. We also intend to commercialize the resulted fluorophores, to tap into the multibillion-dollar market for fluorescent imaging agents.