$1 million CZI Deep Tissue Imaging Grant

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Professor Ellen Sletten and collaborators are one of 13 research teams chosen for a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Deep Tissue Imaging grant.  

Sletten, Dr. Oliver Bruns at the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus in Munich, Germany, and Dr. Christopher Rowlands at Imperial College London, will receive $1 million for their project “Deep tissue short-wave infrared multiphoton microscopy.” Through this combined probe and technology development project, Sletten, Rowlands, and Bruns will obtain cellular resolution images through skin, eliminating the need for surgically implanted “windows” to perform microscopy in mice. 

Sletten and Bruns have recently reported combined probe and technology innovations for the short-wave infrared region, demonstrating the fastest, multicolor, non-invasive imaging in mice to date: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41557-020-00554-5. “We are excited to add Chris to our team and keep advancing optical imaging by leveraging the shortwave infrared region. We are thankful for CZI’s support of our work,” said Sletten. 

CZI’s Imaging program aims to drive breakthroughs in curing, preventing, or managing disease by advancing the imaging field. This includes increasing collaboration between biologists and technology experts, improving microscopy tools and expanding access to these tools, and supporting increased training and community building. Awardees of CZI’s Deep Tissue Imaging RFA will work to advance the field of deep tissue imaging by developing technologies that will allow researchers to view information at cellular resolution, in complex tissue and through skin and bone, in living organisms. Initial 2 1/2-year pilot projects include technology applications in optical microscopy, photoacoustics, quantum imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and X-ray. In the second phase of the RFA, successful grantees will be eligible to apply for four-year, $10 million technology development grant awards. View the full list of grantees.

A UCLA faculty member since 2015, Sletten holds the John McTague Career Development Chair in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. She was recently one of four young investigators selected for the 2020 International Chemical Biology Society (ICBS) Young Chemical Biologist Award. Sletten is a 2019 ACS Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Young Investigator, 2018 Sloan Research Fellow, UCLA Hellman Fellow, and NIH Director’s New Innovator. The Sletten Group develops molecules, methods and materials to detect and perform chemistries in vivo, ultimately enabling next generation therapeutics and diagnostics. To learn more about Sletten’s research, visit her group’s website

About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. The CZI press release states, “Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone.” For more information, visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.