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Visualizing the Invisible: Bio-Imaging at the Nanoscale and Genomic Scale

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

8:00 – 9:00 AM | PROGRAM

Carson Family Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street


Titia de Lange, Ph.D.

Leon Hess Professor
Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics
The Rockefeller University


Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D.

David B. Arnold Jr. Professor of Science
Harvard University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
*2019 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize Recipient

As optical microscopes focus in on ever-finer structures, they inevitably hit a wall when the ability to distinguish tiny features separated by minute distances is limited by the wavelength of light. The outcome? A frustrating blur. Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D., has pioneered elegant technological solutions to overcome this once-insurmountable barrier, providing super-resolution images that reveal new information about fundamental processes in biology.

Among these innovative solutions is Dr. Zhuang’s STochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM), one of the first and most widely used super-resolution imaging methods. Using fluorescent probes that are activated at different times, the STORM technology produces images with much higher resolution than can be obtained with conventional fluorescent microscopy. More recently, Dr. Zhuang invented an imaging method capable of measuring the expression levels and spatial distributions of RNAs at the genome scale in single cells. The Zhuang lab has used these innovations to elucidate critical functions of nerve cells and communications between nerve cells, and also to produce edifying glimpses of the three-dimensional organization of the genome.

Dr. Zhuang graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China and received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. After completing her postdoctoral training in biophysics at Stanford University, she joined the faculty of Harvard University, where she was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2005. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a 2003 MacArthur Fellow, and the recipient of many other honors, including the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences Award in Scientific Discovery, and the Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics. Dr. Zhuang is also the recipient of the 2019 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, an international award presented by The Rockefeller University to recognize outstanding women in biomedical research.

*The 2019 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize ceremony will be held the evening of Tuesday, November 19, 2019. For more information or to register, please click here.