Dissecting the inner workings of a cell requires
imaging methods with molecular 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 the diffraction of light 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.
Xiaowei Zhuang is a professor of chemistry and chemical Biology and a
professor of physics at Harvard University, and an investigator of
Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a biophysicist recognized for
her work in the development and application of advanced optical imaging
techniques for the studies of biological systems. In particular, she and
coworkers invented a super-resolution fluorescence imaging method,
Stochastic Optical reconstruction Microscopy (STORM), which breaks the
diffraction limit. STORM has allowed fluorescence imaging with
nanometer-scale resolution and enabled discoveries of novel sub-cellular
structures. Her lab has also developed and applied singlemolecule
approaches to investigate the structure, dynamics and function of
biomolecules, with emphasis on how proteins and nucleic acids interact
and how protein-nucleic acid complexes function.