MIT Physics News Spotlight

CISSÉ receives $2.34 million New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health

Biophysicist studying transcription with single molecule resolution in live mammalian cells

PRESS RELEASE
MIT Department of Physics,
October 1, 2014

Ibrahim Cissé, Assistant Professor of Physics
Ibrahim Cissé, Assistant Professor of Physics

Assistant Professor of Physics Ibrahim Cissé has been awarded a five-year, $2.34 million grant as one of several recipients nationwide of the 2014 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. The grant will support the study of transcription with single molecule resolution in live mammalian cells.

Transcription is the first step in the central dogma of biology: when the genetic information in DNA is made into an RNA copy. In high order organisms (such as humans), little is understood of how transcription is carried out at the cellular level. In living cells, collective behaviors emerge from weak and transient biological interactions that are difficult to detect in conventional cell imaging methods. Ultimately, the goal is to develop new imaging methods to uncover what roles weak and transient interactions play in regulating gene expression in single living cells.

​The NIH Director's New Innovator Award was launched in 2007 to support unusually creative new investigators, and to stimulate highly innovative research that has the potential for significant impact.