Xiaowei Zhuang

Harvard University

Election Year: 2012
Primary Section: 29, Biophysics and Computational Biology
Secondary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

The understanding of living organisms has greatly benefited from imaging tools. In particular, dissecting the inner workings of a cell requires imaging methods with high resolution such that molecular interactions and processes inside the cell can be visualized. My lab has focused on developing imaging methods with single-molecule sensitivity, nanometer-scale resolution, and dynamic imaging capability and on applying these tools to study biological systems quantitatively. We invented stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM), an imaging technology that overcomes the diffraction-limited resolution barrier of light microscopy. Using STORM, we achieved fluorescence imaging of biological systems with ~10 nm spatial resolution in three dimensions and live-cell super-resolution imaging with ~1 sec time resolution. We have applied high-resolution imaging methods to study a variety of problems in microbiology, cell biology and neurobiology. Another focus of the lab is to investigate the interactions between proteins and nucleic acids and the functional mechanisms of protein-nucleic acid complexes using single-molecule approaches. Our studies have advanced fundamental understandings of how nucleic acid molecules fold and how protein-nucleic acid complexes assemble. Our studies of enzymatic systems involving protein-nucleic acid interactions provided important insights into how dynamics within biomolecular assemblies impact their function.

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