Imaging the Future: Gaining a Deeper Understanding of the Human Body

Mikhail Shapiro

The color-scaled signal is gene expression activity from a glioblastoma tumor growing inside the mouse brain (expressing our acoustic reporter genes), set against the brain’s vasculature (visualized using Doppler imaging). Image Credit: Claire Rabut (Shapiro Lab).

Paul Hernandez-Herrera

Video by Dr. C. Wood at the Mexican National Laboratory for Advanced Microscopy.

Xiaoyu Shi and Jennifer Prescher

Super-resolution expansion microscopy image of a human cell nucleus. The anti-localization between nuclear lamina (cyan) and nuclear pore complexes (red) indicates their opposite impact on chromatin regulation.

“We can learn so much about living things just by watching them!” -Jennifer Prescher

To do this, the Prescher lab is designing long-lasting molecular probes that can be activated by researchers to illuminate a protein and its neighbors in living cells and tissues. Together, they’re working to make it easier to see protein interactions at high resolution, and better understand how the millions of microscopic proteins in our cells come together to keep our cells functioning in health and disease.

Holger Müller

Laser-phase contrast electron microscope showing (from left to right) control system, laser rack, laser input optics, microscope column, laser output output optics.

“What could be more fascinating than imaging? The telescope and the microscope have helped humanity look into the sky and inside into our cells.” -Holger Müller

Müller and his team are using cutting-edge physics to help biologists get the maximum amount of information from an electron beam and take quantum imaging to the next level.

Allison Dennis and Carolyn Bayer

Allison Dennis and her colleague collaborate in the lab.

“​​It is clear that scientific imaging will remain a critical part of our healthcare in the future, presenting many opportunities for impact.” -Allison Dennis

Dennis is part of a team working to develop biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles that can be used as photoacoustic contrast agents to enable imaging at significantly greater depths in clinical settings. This will be a key tool to developing earlier diagnosis and treatment of preeclampsia and other placental disorders.

Ryan Cabeen

Diffusion MRI visualization created using a technique called stick stippling, showing an image slice through a rat brain created by averaging many individual ones.

Rossana Melo

Electron tomography revealing, within a leukocyte, the 3D internal organization of specialized organelles (secretory granules) involved in the release of immune molecules.

“We live in a world of extraordinary beauty and diversity that is not captured by the human eye. It can only be explored through a microscope.” -Rossana Melo

Rossana Melo is an imaging scientist who uses high-resolution imaging to see how immune cells respond to infections, including from SARS-CoV-2. By watching how our bodies fight infection, we can better learn how to wield our immune systems to create new therapeutics. She’s also working to expand access to electron microscopy technologies and training for young scientists in Brazil.

Prisca Liberali

3D organoids grow from individual stem cells from mouse and human intestine.

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