Structural Biology/Biochemistry Seminar
The Donald L.D. Caspar Lecture in Biophysics
Friday, January 31, 2014
CSL 1003, 1:00 PM

“Bioimaging at the nanoscale–Single-molecule and super resolution fluorescence microscopy”

Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang

Harvard University
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Professor of Physics

Host: Dr. Peter Fajer

Abstract: Dissecting the inner workings of a cell requires imaging methods with chemical specificity, single-molecule sensitivity, molecular-scale resolution, and dynamic imaging capability such that molecular interactions inside the cell can be directly visualized. Fluorescence microscopy is a powerful imaging modality for investigating cells largely owning to its molecular specificity and dynamic imaging capability. However, the spatial resolution of light microscopy, classically limited by diffraction to a few hundred nanometers, is substantially larger than typical molecular length scales in cells. Hence many subcellular structures and dynamics cannot be resolved by conventional fluorescence microscopy. We recently developed a super-resolution fluorescence microscopy method, stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), which breaks the diffraction limit. STORM uses single-molecule imaging and photo-switchable fluorescent probes to temporally separate the spatially overlapping images of individual molecules. This approach has allowed multicolor and three-dimensional imaging of living cells with nanometer-scale resolution and enabled discoveries of novel sub-cellular structures. In this talk, I will discuss the general concept, recent technological advances and biological applications of STORM.