Watching the inner life of a cell
Cellular processes are carried out by coordinated participation of many biomolecules in a tiny volume. In order to elucide how these molecules work together, we are developing new imaging techniques that enables their direct visualization. We take a multidisciplinary approach that combines engineering new imaging probes, pushing the resolution of optical microscopy, as well as devising novel image analysis and modeling tools. We are particularly interested in the following problems:
- Physical organization and dynamics of the genome,
- Architecture of large protein complexes such as the centrosome, and
- Spatial distribution of membrane proteins, particularly G-protein coupled receptors and neuron adhesion molecules, and how this distribution defines their signaling specificity.
In order to study these systems, we are developing the following microscopy technologies:
- Super-resolution and light-sheet microscopes that can visualize subcellular structures at a higher spatial resolution, record long term cell behavior, and track cells in intact animals, and
- New fluorescent probes based on fluorescent proteins, nanobodies and aptamers for that reports the localization, conformation and functional modification of proteins and nucleic acids.