Assistant Professor Dan Fu has received a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health. The Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA)—an R35 Outstanding Investigator Award that supports early stage investigators whose work falls within the NIGMS mission, aims to “increase the stability of funding for NIGMS-supported investigators, which could enhance their ability to take on ambitious scientific projects and approach problems more creatively; increase flexibility for investigators to follow important new research directions as opportunities arise, rather than being bound to specific aims proposed in advance of the studies; more widely distribute funding among the nation’s highly talented and promising investigators to increase overall scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs; reduce the time spent by researchers writing and reviewing grant applications, allowing them to spend more time conducting research, and enable investigators to devote more time and energy to mentoring trainees in a more stable research environment.”
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.
As noted in Professor Fu’s NIH MIRA proposal, Non-perturbative imaging of intracellular drug exposure and drug response of kinase inhibitors:
Small molecule kinase inhibitors have played an increasingly prominent role in treating many diseases including cancer. This project aims to develop innovative technologies and methods to quantitatively measure single cell drug exposure and drug response of kinase inhibitors. These unprecedented measurement capabilities will improve understanding of the origin of drug resistance, provide key data for accurate modeling of single cell pharmacokinetics, and accelerate early stage drug discovery. (For full details, see the project information for NIH MIRA 1R35GM133435-01.)