California NanoSystems Institute
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May 19, 2015

Professor Nicole F. Steinmetz
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University
From Black-Eyed Peas to Biomedical Nanotechnology

Sizing and shaping of nanostructured features with temporal and spatial control is a key opportunity to produce the next-generation of higher-performing products with diverse applications in medicine. Nanoscale self-assembly is a technique that Nature masters with atomic precision; genetic programming provides the highest achievable reproducibility. Therefore we turned toward the study and application of Nature’s nanomaterials, specifically the structures formed by plant viruses. Plant viruses come in many shapes and sizes but most species form highly uniform structures. The nanomanufacturing of plant virus-based biomaterials is highly scalable and economic through molecular farming in plants. Viruses have naturally evolved to deliver cargos to specific cells and tissues; and the medical research thrust in my laboratory is aimed at understanding these natural properties for effectively tailoring tissue-specificity for applications in molecular imaging and therapeutic interventions. In this presentation, I will discuss our recent efforts focused at shaping and engineering plant virus-based carriers for applications in molecular magnetic resonance imaging as well as drug delivery and immunotherapeutic approaches targeting oncological and cardiovascular diseases.
April 21, 2015

Professor Markus Sauer Department of Biotechnology & Biophysics, Julius Maximilian University Würzburg

(Inventor of the Superresolution dSTORM Technique)
Frontiers in single-molecule based super-resolution microscopy


Single-molecule based super-resolution microscopy (localization microscopy) provides the ability to unravel the structural organization of cells and the composition of biomolecular assemblies at a spatial resolution well below the diffraction limit approaching virtually molecular resolution. Constant improvements in fluorescent probes, efficient and specific labeling techniques as well as refined data analysis and interpretation strategies further improved the power of super-resolution microscopy. Today, it allows us to interrogate how the distribution and stoichiometry of interacting proteins in subcellular compartments and molecular machines accomplishes complex interconnected cellular processes. However, despite the relative simplicity of the microscope setups and the availability of commercial instruments, localization microscopy faces unique challenges. While achieving super-resolution is no longer a problem, the question we have to ask ourselves is whether localization microscopy images can be ‘trusted’ to reveal novel biological insights. Furthermore, super-resolution microscopy requires high irradiation intensities to use the limited photon budget efficiently and such high photon densities are likely to induce cellular damage in live-cell experiments.