Bringing quantum physics into the biology laboratory, interdisciplinarity in action 

 Quantum biology is a multiscale, interdisciplinary scientific endeavour bringing together scientists from diverse fields. The Guy Foundation is expressly interested in fostering effective collaboration, not only in theory but also in the measurable context of laboratory experiment. To this end The Guy Foundation is pleased to announce the successful cross pollination of two of their funded research initiatives with the transfer of quantum physics instrumentation developed at the Central Laser Facility into the biology laboratory at University of Westminster. 

The Guy Foundation’s first two grants funded research by Professor Jimmy Bell, at the University of Westminster, UK, and Professor Stan Botchway, at the Central Laser Facility, UKRI- STFC, Harwell campus, UK. Professor Bell’s research investigated whether cells not only produce biophotons – ultraweak photonic emissions – but also whether these emissions were a form of communication between live cells. He was supported in this research by Dr Rhys Mould. While much of Westminster’s research was focused towards the biological scale, The Guy Foundation’s Harwell grant approached a similar question from the point of view of fundamental physics. Professor Botchway, along with Dr Alasdair Mackenzie, aimed to design apparatus to directly image cells, and potentially mitochondria, using their endogenously produced biophotons. Furthermore, their interest was in the potential role of entangled photons in biological systems. 

The two research groups have worked cooperatively to investigate these similar phenomena from different perspectives. We are delighted to announce that the custom biophoton detector apparatus has now been successfully developed by Professor Botchway’s team and will be moved to the University of Westminster for the next stage of the work, integrating research from both the biology and physics points of view and deepening the collaboration between these two research teams. The extended stage of this project is due for completion in October 2023. 

Professor Geoffrey Guy, The Guy Foundation Founder and Chairman, commented: “The integration of quantum technologies into biological practise is integral to the future of quantum biology. We are very pleased to see this in action, not only in the transfer of instrumentation but also in the collaboration between scientists from different disciplines. It is also exciting to support young scientists from both biology and physics in pursuing careers in quantum biology”.