Eric Betzig

Eric Betzig

Howard Hughes Investigator and Professor of Cell Biology, Development and Physiology*
*and Eugene D. Commins Presidential Chair in Experimental Physics

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Research Interests

From the 17th through the mid-20th century, beautifully artistic micrographs of living specimens were inextricably linked to biological discovery.  However, in the latter half of the 20th century, microscopy took a back seat to the powerful new fields of genetics and biochemistry.  Starting in the 1990s, the tables began to turn again, thanks to the widespread availability of computers, lasers, sensitive detectors, and fluorescence labeling techniques.  The result has been a Cambrian explosion of new microscope technologies with the ability to understand the findings of genetics and biochemistry in the context of spatially complex and dynamic living systems.  Our lab has been at the forefront of this revolution, which now demands a corresponding revolution in our ability to quantify and distill new biological insights from the rich, petabyte-scale data at high spatiotemporal resolution that we can now generate.  We seek highly dedicated partners to join us in this journey.

Selected Publications


T-L Liu, et al., "Observing the cell in its native state: Imaging subcellular dynamics in multicellular organisms", Science 360, eaaq1392 (2018).  Video Link:

W.R. Legant, et al., "High-density three-dimensional localization microscopy across large volumes", Nat. Methods 13, 359 (2016).  Video link:

E. Betzig, "Nobel Lecture: Single molecules, cells, and super-resolution optics", Rev. Modern Phys. 87, 1153 (2015).  Video link:

D. Li, et al., "Extended-resolution structured illumination imaging of endocytic and cytoskeletal dynamics", Science 349, aab3500 (2015).  Video link:

K. Wang, et al., "Direct wavefront sensing for high-resolution in vivo imaging in scattering tissue", Nat. Commun. 6, 7276 (2015).

B-C Chen, et al., "Lattice light-sheet microscopy: imaging molecules to embryos at high spatiotemporal resolution", Science 346, 1257998 (2014).  Video link:

K. Wang, et al., "Rapid adaptive optical recovery of optimal resolution over large volumes", Nat. Methods 11, 625 (2014).

Collaborative Applications:

A.M. Valm, et al., "Applying systems-level spectral imaging and analysis to reveal the organelle interactome", Nature 546, 162 (2017).

E. Cai, et al., "Visualizing dynamic microvillar search and stabilization during ligand detection by T cells", Science 356, eaal3118 (2017).

J.R. Beach, et al., "Actin dynamics and competition for myosin monomer govern the sequential amplification of myosin filaments", Nat. Cell Biol. 19, 85 (2017).

L.K. Frtiz-Laylin, et al., "Actin-based protrusions of migrating neutrophils are intrinsically lamellar and facilitate direction changes", eLife 6 (2017).

J. Nixon-Abell, et al., "Increased spatiotemporal resolution reveals highly dynamic dense tubular matrices in the peripheral ER", Science 354, aaf3928 (2016).

D.M Veltman, et al., "A plasma membrane template for macropinocytic cups", eLife 5 (2016).

L. Li, et al., "Real-time imaging of Huntingtin aggregates perting target search and gene transcription," eLife 5 (2016).

A.T. Ritter, et al., "Actin depletion initiates events leading to granule secretion at the immunological synapse", Immunity 42, 864 (2015).

J.R. Beach, et al., "Nonmuscle myosin II isoforms coassemble in living cells", Curr. Biol. 24, 1160 (2014).

D.T. Burnette, et al., "A contractile and counterbalancing adhesion system controls the 3D shape of crawling cells", J. Cell Biol. 201311104 (2014).

Z Liu, et al., "3D imaging of Sox2 enhancer clusters in embryonic stem cells", eLife 3 (2014).

J.T. Wang, et al., "Regulation of RNA granule dynamics by phosphorylation of serine-rich, intrinsically disordered proteins in C. elegans", eLife 3 (2014).

Last Updated 2018-06-30