UNSW Medicine research in single molecule science gives our research themes the capacity to understand how diseases progress at a tiny scale.

It's now possible for us to image a single molecule with unprecedented resolution and to see live cells with previously unimaginable clarity. UNSW Medicine researchers lead the world in development and use of novel fluorescence microscopy techniques to understand how disease develops.

We're unique in the way we integrate biomedical research with the cutting edge of technology. Our research creates a cross-disciplinary environment bringing together biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and engineering.

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Single Molecule Science at UNSW

The work done in single molecule science by UNSW Medicine researchers has made internationally relevant discoveries in cancer and immunity.

UNSW Medicine houses the following:

Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre

Our researchers can access facilities in the UNSW Faculty of Medicine Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre.

Our researchers also have access to;

  • super-resolution fluorescence microscopy
  • advanced functional fluorescence microscopy
  • intravital imaging including 2-photon microscopy
  • pre-clinical imaging
  • electron microscopy
  • mass spectrometry
  • nanofabrication
  • drug discovery centres.
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Case Study: Fighting Cancer at the Nano Level

Our new microscopy techniques are revolutionising the understanding of how nanoparticles move through cells and are leading to more effective drug delivery. A team of chemical engineers, scientists and medical researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology have identified that the shape of nanoparticles affects their ability to move through a cell towards its nucleus.

The team applied a new microscopy method to drug delivery, which allowed them to track the movement of differently shaped nanoparticles through a single cultured cancer cell. They could observe where drugs were being released, and how the nanoparticles crossed barriers within the cells. Drug delivery research means it will be possible to tailor particles to reach specific structures inside a cell, leading to new possibilities in the treatment of cancer, diagnosis and imaging.