During his time as a PhD student of physical chemistry, under the guidance of Professor Bo Albinsson, Karl Börjesson studied DNA modifications that enable molecular binding to DNA to be studied. The technology he developed is currently commercially available to other research groups and companies, through a collaboration initiative between Modybase, a Gothenburg-based company, and Glen Research, a DNA reagent company.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is one of the body's most important molecules. It is responsible for the storage of the genome; the code that defines us as individuals. Understanding how a human works on a molecular level is necessary in order to increase knowledge of DNA and how it interacts with its surroundings.
Even though DNA is a macromolecule, it is too small to be examined with most imaging technologies such a microscopes. One way to study the interaction between DNA and proteins, for example, is to place a fluorescent probe in the DNA that can read physical parameters such as the distance between the DNA and the protein.
"I have synthesised and characterised new, powerful probes," says Karl Börjesson. "They can be used to research both DNA dynamics and the interaction between DNA and biomacromolecules. This will lead to enhanced understanding of functionality in the human body on a molecular level."
He is currently working for Kasper Moth-Poulsen on two projects at Polymer Technology, within the Materials Science Area of Advance.
"In one of the projects, I am developing molecules that can absorb and store sunlight. Storage of energy is a weak link in renewable types of energy such as solar and wind power; this is a fundamental problem that the new molecules do not have. In the second project, I am examining material that may modify the solar spectrum to better match the characteristics of solar power plants, thus increasing the efficiency of existing solar cell technology."
This summer between 15 and 20 July, Karl Börjesson will take part in the IUPAC Symposium of Photochemistry in Coimbra where he will talk about his thesis in a plenary lecture. IUPAC, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, is an international and independent organisation whose members consist of National Adhering Organisations. The Swedish National Committee for Chemistry represents the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at IUPAC.
Catrine Andersson Caption 1: Schematic figure of two different DNA base analogues incorporated in DNA.Caption 2: The blue light originates from a DNA modification that is lit up with UV light. Facts about the prize
The EPA PhD Prize
is being awarded for the third time this year. The prize-winner is chosen by external judges around Europe. The prize money amounts to EUR 1,000. The winner this year was selected from among young European researchers who defended their thesis in 2010 or 2011. Read more about the prize