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The 2019 Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures

The Physics Department is excited to announce that the 2019 Robert Hofstadter Memorial lecture will be given by Xiaowei Zhuang, the David B. Arnold Professor of Science, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Professor of Physics at Harvard University, and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  She is best known for her work in the development of Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM), a super-resolution imaging method, and the discoveries of novel cellular structures using STORM. She received a 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for developing super-resolution imaging techniques that overcome the diffraction limit of light microscopy resolution, allowing scientists to visualize small structures within living cells. 

Prof. Zhuang is a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the Sackler Prize, the Max Delbruck Prize, the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology and the National Academy of Sciences Award in Scientific Discovery.  She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Prof. Zhuang’s evening Hofstadter lecture on Monday, April 29, 2019 is followed by the Applied Physics/Physics colloquium on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.  Please join us for these fascinating lectures (both are free and open to the public).


Evening Public Lecture (7:30 PM on Monday, April 29, 2019)
Location:  Bldg. 320, Rm. 105 (Geology Corner), 450 Serra Mall, Main Quad
"Imaging the molecular world of life"

ABSTRACT: As the fundamental unit of life, a cell is comprised of numerous different types of molecules that form intricate interaction networks and function collectively to give the cell its life. Dissecting the inner workings of a cell requires imaging with molecular-scale resolution such that molecular interactions inside the cell can be directly visualized. However, the diffraction-limited resolution of light microscopy is substantially larger than molecular length scales in cells, making many sub-cellular structures difficult to visualize. Another major challenge in imaging is the low throughput in the number of molecular species that can be simultaneously imaged and identified, while genomic-scale throughput (i.e. the ability to simultaneously image thousands of molecular species) is needed for addressing systems level questions. In this talk, I will describe imaging methods to overcome these challenges and biological applications of these methods. I will first describe STORM, a super-resolution imaging method that overcomes the diffraction limit and allows three-dimensional imaging of living cells with nanometer-scale resolution. I will present both technology development of STORM and discoveries of novel cellular structures enabled by STORM. I will then briefly describe MERFISH, a genome-scale imaging method that allows mapping of the transcriptome and genome in single cells and the distinct types of cells in complex tissues. A more detailed description of this genomic-scale imaging method and its applications will be presented in the Applied Physics/Physics colloquium on Tuesday.

Afternoon Colloquium (4:30 PM on Tuesday, April 30, 2019)
Hewlett Teaching Center, 370 Serra Mall, Rm. 200
“Imaging at the genomic-scale: from 3D organization of the genome to cell atlas of the brain"

ABSTRACT: Inside a biological cell, thousands to tens of thousands of different genes function collectively to give rise to cellular behavior. Understanding the emergent behaviors of cells require imaging at the genomic scale. Such genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of single cells promise to transform our understanding in many areas of biology, such as regulation of gene expression, development of cell fate, and organization of distinct cell types in complex tissues. We developed a genomic-scale imaging method, MERFISH, which uses combinatorial imaging to massively multiplex single-molecule measurements and error-robust barcoding to minimize measurement error. Using this approach, we have imaged RNAs of hundreds to thousands of genes in individual cells. By enabling single-cell transcriptomic analysis in the native context of cells and tissues, MERFISH facilitates the delineation of gene regulatory networks, the mapping of molecular distributions inside cells, and the mapping of distinct cell types in complex tissues. We have also extended this approach to image numerous genomic loci and trace the 3D structure of chromosomes in single cells. In this talk, I will describe the technology development of MERFISH and its applications focusing on generating the cell atlas of complex tissues and mapping the 3D organization of the genome.

April 29, 2019 - 7:30pm
Bldg. 320 (Geology Corner), 450 Serra Mall, Main Quad
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