Illuminating potential applications for quantum effects in living systems.
Does long-range quantum energy transport play a meaningful role in biology? Are these effects somehow able to survive the warm, wet, and noisy environment of complex living systems? These questions were first raised in the 1930s and continue to be debated today. Advances in experimental and computational molecular dynamics techniques are providing mounting evidence that quantum mechanical effects do exist in living organisms and appear to have significance in vital biological functions such as sight, smell, photosynthesis, cellular respiration and even avian navigation.
Light & Metabolism
Ultrafast spectroscopic studies are elucidating the dynamics of efficient energy transport in photosynthetic organisms such as plants, algae and bacteria. Researchers are showing that super-efficient energy transport processes in these biological systems may indeed be assisted by fluctuations and disorder in the surrounding environment. What if such energy transport mechanisms are not the exclusive domain of photosynthetic organisms? Is it possible that light-based energy transduction and transport is employed more broadly in nature?
A growing body of research is showing that low-energy infrared light is able to stimulate cellular respiratory processes in non-photosynthetic organisms including humans. Therapies based upon this phenomenon have demonstrated positive outcomes in the relief of pain and inflammation, as well as in wound healing. Thousands of studies point to its potential to treat diseases of the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, and more. Much is yet to be learned about the underlying activation pathways as the mechanisms of light energy transduction and transport in complex life forms is not fully understood.