Substantial in vitro and physiological experimental results suggest that similar coherent spin physics might underlie phenomena as varied as the biosensing of magnetic fields in animal navigation and the magnetosensitivity of metabolic reactions related to oxidative stress in cells. If this is correct, organisms might behave, for a short time, as “living quantum sensors” and might be studied and controlled using quantum sensing techniques developed for technological sensors. I will outline our approach towards performing coherent quantum measurements and control on proteins, cells and organisms in order to understand how they interact with their environment, and how physiology is regulated by such interactions. Can coherent spin physics be established – or refuted! – to account for physiologically relevant biosensing phenomena, and be manipulated to technological and therapeutic advantage?
Prof. Clarice D. Aiello is a quantum engineer interested in how quantum physics informs biology at the nanoscale. She is an expert on nanosensors harnessing room-temperature quantum effects in noisy environments. Aiello received her Ph.D. from MIT in Electrical Engineering and held postdoctoral appointments in Bioengineering at Stanford, and in Chemistry at Berkeley. She joined UCLA in 2019, where she leads the Quantum Biology Tech (QuBiT) Lab.