Applying Novel Physics To Image Life at High Spatiotemporal Resolution

Friday, 13 February 2015: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 210CD (San Jose Convention Center)
Eric Betzig, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, VA
The hallmark of life is that it is animate.  To gain a better understanding of how inanimate molecules assemble to create animate life, it is necessary to image living organisms noninvasively at high resolution across all four dimensions of spacetime, at the same time.  I will describe two microscope technologies adapted from the physics community that bring us closer to this goal.  The first uses non-diffracting Bessel beams or two-dimensional optical lattices to image single molecules, cells, and embryos in 3D at up to several volumes per second.  In the second, we apply the guide star and wavefront sensing principles from astronomy to recover diffraction-limited performance in the aberrating environment of the living zebrafish brain.  Together, these technologies hold the promise to take cell biology from the artificiality of cells cultured on glass slides to the true physiological environment of the living organisms in which they evolved.