Researchers at the University of Sydney Nano Institute have secured a contract with Wellcome Leap, a US non-profit organization, to develop advanced quantum technology for applications in the biological and health sectors. The project, known as Quantum for Bio (Q4Bio), aims to explore the potential of quantum computing, which is expected to emerge within the next few years.
Dr. Tingrei Tan, leading the team at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, envisions using quantum technology to create innovative molecules for treating skin cancers and improving sunscreens. The team’s multidisciplinary research seeks to overcome the limitations of conventional computers in accurately predicting quantum chemical dynamics in molecules, a key bottleneck in drug development.
By pioneering quantum solutions and developing algorithms for accurate quantum simulations, the team hopes to revolutionize our understanding of photoactive chemical reactions. These reactions occur at extremely rapid speeds, making real-time observation challenging. However, by leveraging analog quantum simulations, scientists can slow down these reactions by a factor of 100 billion, enabling in-depth observations and analysis.
The implications of this research stretch beyond drug development. Understanding the molecular-level behavior of cells when exposed to light could lead to significant breakthroughs in disease treatment and drug design. The team recognizes the potential of quantum computing in tackling these complex problems by combining the expertise of quantum technology and chemistry with medical research.
What is Quantum for Bio (Q4Bio)?
Quantum for Bio is a program initiated by Wellcome Leap that focuses on exploring and developing quantum technology applications in the field of human health. The program aims to leverage the emerging technology of quantum computing for innovative advancements in healthcare.
What challenges does the research address?
The research addresses the limitations of conventional computers in accurately predicting quantum chemical dynamics in molecules. By harnessing the power of quantum technology, the team hopes to overcome this bottleneck in drug development and enable more effective treatments for various diseases, including skin cancer.
What are analog quantum simulations?
Analog quantum simulations allow scientists to slow down complex processes by a significant factor, allowing for detailed observations and analysis. In this research, analog quantum simulations are used to study photoactive chemical reactions, such as those involved in photosynthesis and solar energy, as well as for developing sunscreens and photoactive medications.
Why is the University of Sydney well-suited for this research?
The University of Sydney possesses a comprehensive quantum technology program with world-class experts in quantum theory, quantum hardware and software development. With its multidisciplinary approach and diverse expertise, the university is uniquely positioned to drive innovation and solve some of the most pressing challenges in quantum technology and healthcare.