• Question: Hi Matt, are the lasers which you zap the bacteria with very strong and if so how powerful are they? Also, are you only planning on zapping cells to do with TB or do you think you will move onto others like MRSA etc?

    Asked by GB to Matt on 21 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Matt Bilton

      Matt Bilton answered on 21 Nov 2014:

      They’re very bright but I use them to excite fluorescent molecules I attach to the cells so I can learn about them, rather than destroy them – so they’re not the sort that can cut through things. One of the lasers can damage DNA if you want it to, although I’m not doing any experiments with that laser at the moment – more for people interested in looking at how DNA is repaired in cells.

      To answer your second question I’m actually studying the immune system trying to understand how it works in TB. So it’s relatively easy to move into different areas and focus on how the immune system works to fight different bacteria or viruses etc. TB still kills a lot of people around the world though – more than any other single bacteria, so it’s quite an important area.