Doctoral Thesis: Toward Ultra-Resolution Biomolecular Mapping in Cells with Expansion Microscopy

Wednesday, May 1
9:00 am - 10:30 am


By: Yixi Liu

Supervisor(s): Ed Boyden


  • Date: Wednesday, May 1
  • Time: 9:00 am - 10:30 am
  • Category:
  • Location: 46-3002
Additional Location Details:

Abstract: To investigate the molecular and cellular foundations of biological functions, it is crucial to attain nanoscale spatial resolution in the imaging of biomolecules. Expansion microscopy (ExM), a novel chemical approach to super-resolution microscopy, enables this by physically enlarging preserved biological specimens. This technique facilitates the investigation of structure-function relationships at nanoscale resolution using conventional diffraction-limited microscopes. ExM involves a series of chemical processes – anchoring, polymerization, softening, and expansion. However, prior to the softening step, these chemical steps can induce perturbations in cellular ultrastructure. Acknowledging this issue, this thesis introduces a novel strategy aimed at minimizing these perturbations, thereby preserving the integrity of the ultrastructure to the greatest extent possible. Through the application of this strategy, we have achieved significant improvements in ultrastructural continuity and antigen preservation across a variety of biological structures, including microtubules, mitochondria, and the Golgi apparatus. Our method enhances the ability to study the intricate and faithful architecture of biological systems via ExM, offering a powerful tool for detailed investigations into the complex organization of cells. This advancement holds promise for broadening our understanding of biological systems and paving the way for detailed investigations into how structural variations underpin functional differences across healthy and disease states.