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Biophotonics symposium makes the invisible visible

James Fitzpatrick and Clodagh O’Shea of the Salk Institute; Alice Ting of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mark Ellisman of the University of California, San Diego; Dan Larson of the National Cancer
Institute; Eric Kool of Stanford University; Axel Nimmerjahn of the Salk Institute; Taekjip Ha of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Illinois; and Martin Hetzer of the Salk Institute

From left: James Fitzpatrick and Clodagh O’Shea of the Salk Institute; Alice Ting of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mark Ellisman of the University of California, San Diego; Dan Larson of the National Cancer Institute; Eric Kool of Stanford University; Axel Nimmerjahn of the Salk Institute; Taekjip Ha of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Illinois; and Martin Hetzer of the Salk Institute.

On September 26, Salk collaborators and other preeminent scientists gathered for the third annual biophotonics symposium, “Fluorescence and Beyond: Illuminating the Dark World,” presented by Salk’s Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center to share innovative approaches to biological imaging.

The field of biophotonics isn’t just about making pretty pictures. By pushing the limits of imaging, scientists are able to reveal much about fundamental processes that still elude us. Researchers use cutting-edge imaging techniques to unveil these processes–such as how DNA is packaged or how critical cell receptors function on immune cells–to understand more about diseases like cancer, autism or Alzheimer’s.

Mark Ellisman

Mark Ellisman

Salk researchers–including Clodagh O’Shea, Krishnan Padmanabhan, J. Tiago Gonçalves and Ying Hu–discussed how to map, visualize and better understand everything from DNA and the olfactory system to neurons and immune cells. Other speakers included Mark Ellisman of the University of California, San Diego, Alice Ting of MIT, Eric Kool of Stanford University, Luke Lavis of Janelia Farm Research Campus, Taekjip Ha of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Daniel Larson of the National Cancer Institute.

The symposium was organized by Salk’s Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center– particularly Martin Hetzer, faculty director; Axel Nimmerjahn, assistant professor; and James Fitzpatrick, core director. The day was underwritten by the Waitt Foundation and sponsored by Zeiss, Olympus, Leica Microsystems, Nikon, Newport, Spectra-Physics, Coherent, Marine Reef International and Bitplane.