Stanford University, Stanford, USA
Conventional optical microscopy at visible wavelengths suffers from severe resolution limitations in that features on scales smaller than about 200 nm cannot be resolved. Since cell receptor proteins, amyloid structures, and other actual cellular actors are much smaller, there has been a need for higher resolution. The relatively new method of “super-resolution” fluorescence microscopy has circumvented this resolution limit allowing visualization of detail down to the 20-40 nm range. Super-resolution microscopy can be achieved by stimulated emission depletion, structured illumination, or single-molecule localization microscopy methods. These approaches can now be used to explore structures that could not be observed previously, in both normal and diseased cells. Specific applications to huntingtin aggregates and to receptor/ligand pairs involved in cancer will be described.
Nobel Laureate W.E. Moerner is the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry and, by courtesy, professor of applied physics. In 2014, he won the Nobel Prize for his role in developing a microscopy technique that allows scientists to visualize living cells at the molecular level. Prior to Moerner’s work, no one had ever actually seen a single molecule. Rendering the tiny particles visible at the smallest scale opened new possibilities for drug development and disease management.
Nobel Autobiography (as of January 2015): “William E. Moerner – Biographical“. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 19 Nov 2015.
Nobel Lecture Page with full details: Video, written article, and slides: “William E. Moerner – Nobel Lecture: Single-Molecule Spectroscopy, Imaging, and Photocontrol: Foundations for Super-Resolution Microscopy“. Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 19 Nov 2015.
Selected biographical summaries, interviews: