Inventing sharper and faster optical microscopes for live cell imaging

2006

Challenge

Microscopes have traditionally evolved in tandem with medical research, and scientists today need new generations of microscopes to enable them to delve even deeper into the molecular mechanisms of disease.

Advance

IRP investigators, including Clare M. Waterman, Ph.D., Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Ph.D., and Hari Shroff, Ph.D., have pioneered new imaging techniques and tools, such as fluorescent speckle microscopy (FSM), photoactivation localization microscopy (PALM), and inverted selective plane illumination microscopy (iSPIM), that provide dramatically clearer views of healthy and diseased live cells, their organelles, and the protein interactions within.

Impact

Through improved imaging, researchers around the world can now visualize complex developmental and disease progressions that previously could only be conjectured. The ability to visualize cellular organelles and macromolecules in such fine detail provides researchers with new tools to accelerate understanding of cellular function in health and disease.

Publications

Kanchanawong P, Shtengel G, Pasapera AM, Ramko EB, Davidson MW, Hess HF, Waterman CM. (2010). Nanoscale architecture of integrin-based cell adhesions. Nature. 468(7323), 580-4.

Betzig E, Patterson GH, Sougrat R, Lindwasser OW, Olenych S, Bonifacino JS, Davidson MW, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Hess HF. (2006). Imaging intracellular fluorescent proteins at nanometer resolution. Science. 313(5793), 1642-5.

Wu Y, Ghitani A, Christensen R, Santella A, Du Z, Rondeau G, Bao Z, Colón-Ramos D, Shroff H. (2011). Inverted selective plane illumination microscopy (iSPIM) enables coupled cell identity lineaging and neurodevelopmental imaging in Caenorhabditis elegans. PNAS. 108(43), 17708-13.

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