Enlightening Cells: Using Light To Understand How Cells Work

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ICFO Seminar by Felix Campelo

Single Molecule Biophotonics, ICFO



Thanks to fluorescence microscopes, we can visualize intracellular structures and even monitor in real time different cellular processes happening at the microscale. These techniques have boosted the field, and facilitated many fundamental discoveries in cell biology of the last decades. But conventional light microscopy has a fundamental limitation: due to the diffraction of light, the resolution of an optical microscope cannot go beyond ~300 nm. This limitation however did not stop a few stubborn scientists, who did not give in, and invented a number of revolutionary techniques –referred to as super-resolution nanoscopy techniques–, which have allowed modern state-of-the-art microscopes to overcome the diffraction limit of light, and reach resolutions of up to a few nanometers: a whole new intracellular world is now accessible to our eyes!

I will introduce some of these techniques, which we are actively using and developing here at ICFO, and show how we use them to study cellular processes at the nanoscale with unprecedented spatial resolution.


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