PI and CO-I Name(s): Dr. Assaf Gilad
Lab Name: Gilad Lab
MSU Department: Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Award name: Standar Grant
Date awarded: June 2020
As part of an ongoing collaboration between our lab and the MSU Museum, we are curating an exhibition entitled “From Seaside to Bedside: How Marine Organisms and Insects Can Be Used for Diagnostics and Therapeutics.” This exhibit focuses on glow-in-the-dark creatures, and how they’ve evolved to use light as a form of communication and defense in their environment. Some of these creatures may be very familiar to you, such as fireflies we see in the evenings of summer months, or more exotic creatures, like deep sea shrimp that use their glowing spit to fend off predators. Using DNA from these glow-in-the-dark creatures, scientists have been able to identify proteins that make these creatures glow and put them into other living things. Through careful experimental design, scientists can use these glowing proteins for medical or diagnostic purposes to potentially identify the source of disease in human beings. Many labs across the world are working to make these proteins brighter and glow in the presence of other chemicals to enhance their medical application.
The intended goal of this exhibit is to teach the public the history of glow-in-the-dark creatures, and how they can help transform our understanding of medicine.