Luca Sardo – Molecular Virology

Location: Philadelphia PA, USA

What do you do?

Currently my research at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of the Sciences, focuses on how HIV causes disease but can also lie dormant in the central nervous system. In the lab, we use a mix of tissue culture, molecular biology and live fluorescent microscopy techniques to study the how HIV affects molecules in the cells of the brain. Recently we showed that HIV proteins inhibits cellular pathways causing the onset of cognitive disorders in infected patients.

What can you see?

We use a custom-built instant super-resolution structured illumination microscope (iSIM) which was made by our collaborators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD.  The microscope is built on a table and occupies a space of ~10 square meters. We can use multiple lasers to excite different fluorescent targets in living cells which allows us to detect the position of proteins and nucleic acids. In addition we can perform live cell imaging experiments and visualize changes of the location of proteins and nucleic acids in real-time. In the photo the 488 nm laser beam (Green Lantern for the friends!) is on and travels through optics before illuminating the cells plated on a glass slide.

When I’m not doing science I… Travel, cook, read, bike, video gaming

If you want to find out more about Luca’s work you can find him on Twitter @drlucasardo or on the University’s website