Center for Biomolecular Structure Lecture Series

"Soft X-ray Tomography: Quantitative Structural Cell Biology at the Mesoscale"

Presented by Carolyn Larabell, LBL

Wednesday, July 19, 2023, 1:30 pm — Videoconference / Virtual Event (see link below)

Soft X-ray tomography (SXT) is similar in concept to the well-established medical diagnostic technique, computed axial tomography (CAT), except SXT is capable of imaging single cells up to 20 µm diameter with a spatial resolution of 35 nm or better. Cells are simply rapidly frozen, placed in a goniometer, and imaged through 360 degrees to achieve isotropic resolution. Cells imaged by SXT are, therefore, highly representative of the cell in its native, functional state. Cells are illuminated with x-ray photons from within a region of the spectrum known as the 'water window' (284 – 543eV). 'Water window' x-ray photons are absorbed an order of magnitude more strongly by carbon- and nitrogen-containing organic material than by water. Consequently, variation in biomolecule composition and concentration gives rise to quantitative, high-contrast images of intact, fully hydrated cells without the need to use contrast-enhancing agents. Attenuation of soft x-rays as they pass through the specimen adheres to the Beer-Lambert Law, yielding unique quantitative Linear Absorption Coefficient (LAC) measurements for cellular components. Three-dimensional images of an entire cell can be obtained in about ten minutes, enabling analyses of large number of cells with multiple manipulations. At the National Center for X-ray Tomography in Berkeley California, we are working with a large number of scientists from around the world to image a variety of different cell types. I will present highlights of some of these projects to demonstrate the unique information that can be generated by SXT and the broad spectrum of biological applications.

Hosted by: Vivian Stojanoff

Videoconference Instructions

registration required

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