Drilling through Cell Membranes


Rob Pal worked together with US researchers to open cell membranes. They activated molecular nanomachines with light. These machines work like a motor, and drill through the membrane ('skin' of the cell), killing the cell instantaneously!


...but why did they do this? 

The hope is to use those machines to destroy cancer cells. 


How did they do the experiments?

The machines are molecules and they were synthesised by the research group of Professor James Tour at Rice University in the US. The machines were first tested on synthetic cell membranes by colleagues at North Carolina State University. Then in Durham University, Dr Rob Pal,  tested these nanomachines on various live cells, including human prostate cancer cells.


Who is Rob Pal?

Rob is an Associate Professor and  Royal Society University Research Fellow, his group is situated in Chemistry Department, Durham University. Rob did his PhD and postdoctoral projects with Professor David Parker between 2004 and 2014. 


Here is a video about this work!


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