A single mammalian cell is a complex yet robust machine self-assembled from approximately 100 million copies of tens of thousands of distinct proteins, each only a few nanometers in size. Reverse engineering this system is a daunting task, not only because of the small size and shear number of components, but also because the system is exquisitely sensitive to perturbation, either by scientific interrogation or changes in the external environment.
I will describe the physics, engineering, and application of tools my group has developed to image the subcellular machinery -- tools which must balance the competing requirements of high resolution, high speed, and noninvasive imaging.
Eric Betzig did his BS at Caltech and Ph.D. at Cornell. His discoveries at Bell Labs earned high awards, and after some time in industry and as househusband he returned to academia at HHMI, where he developed groundbreaking imaging technology that led to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2014) for fluorescence microscopy. He is joining UCB/LBNL this year, as new faculty in Physics.