Dan Fu receives NSF CAREER Award

Submitted by Kimberly Quigley on

Assistant Professor Dan Fu has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) Program is a Foundation-wide program that “offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

Professor Fu’s independent research program focuses on the development of precision chemical and functional measurement methods to study living biological systems and address key biomedical problems. Leveraging recent advances in ultrafast spectroscopy and high resolution optical imaging, the Fu group constructs state-of-the-art multimodal microscopes that enable noninvasive imaging of previously inaccessible essential biomolecules at high spatial and temporal resolution in living biological systems. With these novel measurement techniques, Professor Fu is able to explore the cellular mechanism of a number of diseases (e.g., cancer, metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases), develop new early disease diagnosis tools, and improve high-content drug screening.

Professor Fu’s NSF CAREER proposal, CAREER: Imaging vesicular neurotransmitter dynamics with high-sensitivity stimulated Raman scattering microscopy, aims to develop new high-sensitivity stimulated Raman scattering microscopy technologies to elucidate vesicular neurotransmitter dynamics in model neuronal cells. The project aligns well with the BRAIN initiative by providing missing chemical information on neurotransmission through first-in-class neurotransmitter dynamic imaging capabilities. This work will facilitate better understanding of vesicular neurotransmitter storage, release, and recycling, ultimately offering tools that will provide insight into the roles of various neurotransmitters in modulating brain activities in fundamental processes such as learning and memory. The educational plan of this CAREER proposal involves the development and dissemination of low (<2% of commercial) cost, modular instruments with unique features that allow students to explore in-depth the construction and function of these instruments, as well as the development of new lab courses that take full advantage of these low-cost instruments and enhance student learning of core physical sciences concepts and fundamental instrument science and technology.

For more information about this NSF CAREER Award, please visit the award website.

For more information about Professor Fu and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.