MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
The goal of Dr. Yun's research is to develop optical techniques and to apply them to significant biomedical problems.
How to Look at Your Cells While They are Still Inside You
Lasers are widely used for diagnosing and treating diseases as well as for biomedical research. Today, most lasers are very large and designed for use outside the body.
Dr. Yun’s lab is working to invent very small lasers that can be used inside the body to image single cells within tumors. At the heart of this new initiative is the biological laser, a tiny laser that is actually made out of living material.
One of the early advances in medical laser development was the development of protein lasers, which were highlighted as the first “living lasers” in the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records.
Another major advance was the invention of lasers made of micron-sized oil droplets that can be used inside cells.
Dr. Yun and his team are currently making lasers that are even smaller—one hundredth of the diameter of a human hair or less—that can be injected into the blood stream, implanted under the skin, and inserted into a single cell in order to monitor cancer progression and response to therapy.