The Guy Foundation was set up by Professor Geoffrey Guy to facilitate research into how a deeper understanding of electromagnetic effects in biology might be able to improve our ability to practise medicine. Since 2018 the Foundation has gone from strength to strength, providing leadership, expertise, coordination and support for the community of scientists engaged in this exciting and important area of scientific exploration.
The study of electrical effects in biological systems has a long history. Magnetism also plays a fundamental role in medicine, particularly in imaging. However, a deeper understanding of how electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation – or light, as we know it – might play a role in biology and physiology, has to some extent been side-lined by a focus on genetic mechanisms.
The fundamental particles of electromagnetism – electrons, protons, photons – are also the province of quantum mechanics. As such our research interests intersect with those of quantum biology. These interests include the role of fields in biological systems, from the proton gradients of sea vents at the origin of life to the cellular electrochemical gradients that mimic them. They also include the interaction of light, both exogenous and endogenous, with living matter and the dissipative ‘sunscreen’ properties of important organic compounds. A familiarity with the inflammatory damage wrought by oxidative stress means we are necessarily interested in quantum spin and the radical pair mechanism, which has primarily been applied to migration rather than reactive oxygen species. As a starting point we consider it useful to draw these disparate threads of quantum biological research into a coherent picture by locating them in a measurable biological system, the mitochondrion.
Until recently there has been little recognition of these effects, nor indeed their therapeutic potential, by those working in mainstream science and medicine, yet understanding and engagement will be required to pull the findings through into life sciences and the translation of this new understanding into therapeutics for improving health.
With an emphasis on building a research community to further investigate these interests, The Guy Foundation operates in a spirit of collaboration rather than straightforward grant funding, to advance the course of useful knowledge towards the mainstream and bring it to the attention of more conventional funders.
We do this in a number of ways.
We identify and set out the research interests and make efforts to understand what new medical technologies might look like
We build a network of scientists and research groups interested in these priorities and lead and coordinate research efforts by funding collaborative projects to accelerate relevant high-quality scientific research
In many ways, our work is summed up in our logo.
The serpent-entwined staff is commonly associated with medical practise. Among other things, the serpent represents the dual role of the physician: mediator of life and death, dispenser of the carefully calibrated poison that acts as a medicine. In The Guy Foundation logo this duality is reimagined in the context of quantum mechanics, a theory that itself reimagined the physical world as fundamentally dual, behaving sometimes as a wave and sometimes as a particle. The role that quantum physics may play in advancing medicine is a central tenet of The Guy Foundation. Thus the rod takes on the form of psi (ψ), made famous by Schrodinger’s equation, which describes the behaviour of a quantum mechanical system. As in the animated logo above, the logo collapses variously from wave to particle, from particle to wave.
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