Research interests

The Guy Foundation leads, supports and contributes to quantum biological and related research with the ultimate aim of advancing the development of new medical diagnostics and therapeutics. The Foundation believes this advancement can be achieved in a number of ways, which is reflected by the research we fund as well as the cross-section of scientists invited to give presentations.

Our approach is summarised as encompassing research from bench to bedside.

Our priorities encompass the spectrum of theoretical, experimental, and practical advances. Understanding the fundamental physics (e.g., quantum mechanics, electrodynamics, thermodynamics) is important. More specifically we aim to understand this physics within the biological and physiological contexts, with the emphasis on furthering the study of medicine. Overall, we would like to see this knowledge translated and applied in new diagnostics and therapeutics.

On the more fundamental end, we are aware that progress depends on a better understanding of the underlying physics. Our research priorities thus include an interest in quantum theory as well as other branches of physics such as electromagnetism and thermodynamics. We are also interested in the intersection of these areas.

We are, however, most interested in this physics within a very specific context: the study of biological systems. As such we are interested in how fundamental entities such as electrons, protons, photons and phonons underpin macroscopic outcomes in the warm, wet and complex environments of life. This also means expanding the common view that chemicals are at the heart of biological systems, by considering the effects that fields have. Our interest in this area encompasses the effects of electric fields on morphogenesis, the role of spin and magnetic fields as well as non-chemical signalling and various forms of electromagnetic radiation – biophotons, ultraweak photon emissions, and delayed luminescence – in the biological context. We are also interested in how life depends on energy and may have emerged from the nonequilibrium dissipation of energy, and how this energy flow is related to work, entropy and information. This interest in energy has long informed our research and its focus on the bioenergetics of mitochondria.

Our focus is also on what generalisations may be made from the wider context of biology to the specific examples of health and disease. For instance, research into natural products can be very useful, how they function in plants and how this might inform their diagnostic and therapeutic function. The study of photosynthesis – the capture and dissipation of light energy – and its inverse process, aerobic respiration, could point the way towards understanding how light and light-reactive molecules (i.e., chromophores) play a role in the bioenergetics of living organisms, and in related health concerns. The phenomena of magnetoreception, Fröhlich condensation, and open quantum systems might also be recast in the context of inflammation and reactive oxygen species. This involves the development and testing of multiple hypotheses across several domains of science, particularly hypotheses of interest to biomedical practitioners.

And finally, we are interested in how these new ideas can be applied to the monitoring and manipulation of living systems, ultimately translating into novel diagnostics and therapeutics.