BOETTCHER WEBB-WARING BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH AWARD
Wilson has also been named Colorado State University’s 2018 recipient of the Boettcher Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award. The Boettcher Foundation aims to support scientific innovation in Colorado by providing funding for early career investigators at the state’s research institutions. Wilson will hold the title of Boettcher Investigator, and will use the funding from the award to develop a new laser technique to enable the first-ever direct microscopy of mitochondrial respiratory chain function in living cells and tissues.
Wilson’s interest in improving understanding of respiratory chain dysfunction stems from its implication in a broad spectrum of health problems, including aging, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and mitochondrial disease. However, the present lack of techniques for assessing mitochondrial respiratory chain function in patients means that it is impossible to know whether a trial therapy is having any positive effect. The unique laser systems in Wilson’s lab generate short pulses of light that can be absorbed by different parts of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. By combining different wavelengths, an optical signature that is sensitive to relative concentrations of different electron transfer heme proteins, their redox states, and the local molecular environment is generated. This information measures respiratory chain efficiency, pinpointing defects.
THE WILSON LAB
Jesse Wilson is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering at Colorado State University, and also holds an appointment in the School of Biomedical Engineering. Wilson earned his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from Colorado State University, developing techniques in ultrafast pulse shaping and impulsive Raman spectroscopy.
He conducted postdoctoral research in Warren Warren’s lab at Duke University, where he was awarded both the JenLab Young Investigator Award from the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) and a Ruth Kirchstein fellowship from the National Cancer Institute. He is interested in leveraging ultrafast and nonlinear optical phenomena for microscopic imaging contrast, with a specific focus on cancer imaging and other biomedical applications. Wilson is a member of SPIE, the Optical Society of America, and the American Physical Society.