Caltech: Lu Wei Receives Early Career Award, Funding

Wei, who joined Caltech in 2018, is developing new spectroscopy and microscopy techniques that will allow biologists to track the movement of molecules in real time inside living cells. One technique under development in her lab is known as vibrational spectroscopy, which identifies molecules through the use of chemical tags. These tags can be attached to biomolecules of interest and will then vibrate in a signature way that allows their location to be precisely determined.

One possible application for this kind of imaging, according to Wei, would be to study metabolism within brain tissues, which could provide new insights into disorders and diseases of the brain.

The award from Scialog will provide Wei and her two collaborators with $50,000 each in funding to further pursue this research. The team aims to build new tools that would allow for the profiling of lipid molecules in tissues in clinical settings.