Bioimaging Science and Technology

The Bioimaging Science and Technology Group was formed to bring together researchers that are interested in new imaging technologies and methods to further our understanding of biological mechanisms of human diseases.

Leader: Michael Insana
Support: Julie McCartney

Faculty members in the Bioimaging Science and Technology group develop new imaging technologies for medical diagnosis and treatment, as well as new methods for discovering the ways our bodies work. Because of the extensive imaging facilities at the Beckman Institute, we are able to explore very fundamental aspects of living systems from molecular interactions through population behaviors in ecosystems. Faculty are developing new technologies to discover how cells send and receive signals from their microenvironment, and how these signals change cells so they can cooperate to form specialized tissues and organs.

  • Examples of group projects:
  • “High resolution diffusion tensor imaging for resolving functionally-specific neural pathways in the brain” is a project led by Brad Sutton. His group is developing acquisition and image reconstruction techniques to significantly improve the ability of MRI to interrogate myelination measures of specific functional tracts. This new information may help explain age-related behavioral declines in patients.
  • “Cell Complexity” is a project led by Sheng Zhong. How does a single cell - the fertilized egg - give rise to a complex, multicellular organism? This question reflects one of the greatest mysteries of life, and represents a fundamental challenge in developmental biology. In collaboration with Taekjip Ha, he is using mRNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to visualize and quantify the expression of multiple genes at single cell level in developing mouse embryos. These data are expected to contribute to trace the earliest deterministic differences between cells and thus reveal molecular mechanisms in cell fate decisions.
  • “Molecular Engineering and Live Cell Imaging of Mechanotransduction” is a project led by Yingxiao Wang. Group members are developing molecular biosensors based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to visualize protein movement in live cells with high resolution. These biosensors are applied to elucidate molecular mechanisms by which cells perceive mechanical tension.
  • “High-speed MR imaging with sparse sampling” is a project led by Zhi-Pei Liang. Group members are developing theory and algorithms to enable high-quality image formation in rapidly moving organ systems, for example, the heart.