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Friday Evening Lecture Series

Lillie Auditorium, 8:00 PM

Eric Betzig

Porter Lecture – "Pushing the Envelope in Biological Fluorescence Microscopy"
Eric Betzig, Janelia Farm Research Center, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Lecture Abstract:
Optical microscopy has remained at the forefront of biological discovery for centuries. However, as our understanding of biological systems as increased, so has the complexity of our questions and the need for more advanced optical tools to answer them. For example, there is a hundred-fold gap between the resolution limits of conventional optical microscopy and the scale at which molecules self-assemble to form sub-cellular structures. Furthermore, as we attempt to peer more closely at the three-dimensional dynamic complexity of living systems, the actinic glare of our microscopes can adversely influence or even kill the very specimens we hope to study. Finally, the heterogeneity essential to life, ranging from organelles within single cells to specialized cell types within tissues and organs, can seriously impede our ability to image at high resolution, due to the resulting warping and scattering of light rays. Dr. Betzig will describe three methods developed in his lab to address these challenges: superresolution microscopy for imaging specific proteins within cells at near-molecular resolution; Bessel beam plane illumination microscopy for minimally invasive imaging of the three-dimensional dynamics within live cells and organisms; and adaptive optics to recover optimal images from within optically heterogeneous specimens.

About the Porter Lecture:
The annual Porter Lecture is held in honor of Dr. Keith Roberts Porter, a former Director of the MBL considered by many to be the "Father" of the field of cell biology. It is sponsored by the Keith R. Porter Endowment whose goal is to support communication and education in cell biology.