DNA Advancing Bio-imaging: Resolution, Multiplexing, Throughput and Accessibility

Biological organisms are complex molecular systems. Imaging can reveal spatial distribution of biomolecules. I will discuss how DNA probes can transform molecular imaging: (1) 5 nm molecular resolution enabled by DNA-PAINT, (2) rapid sequential multiplexing by DNA-Exchange, (3) high throughout via signal amplification by SABER, and (4) microscope-free imaging via nondestructive autocycling proximity recording. DNA-based imaging thus promises to illuminate biology with new clarity. I will discuss its applications to chromosome structure study, single molecule proteomics, and human cell atlas. I will conclude with some thoughts on broadening technology reach via commercialization, including venture-backed startups.

Dr. Yin is a Professor in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. His lab uses synthetic DNA/RNA to construct, manipulate, and visualize nanoscale structures. They have developed a general framework to program DNA/RNA strands to self-assemble into structures with user-specified geometry or dynamics. By interfacing these nanostructures with other functional entities (e.g. fluorophores, proteins, inorganics, living cells), they have introduced digital programmability into diverse application areas, e.g. fabrication of inorganic nanoparticles with user-prescribed shapes, robust DNA/RNA probes with near optimal binding specificity for detecting single-base genetic changes, RNA-based synthetic regulators with unprecedented dynamic range and orthogonality for complex programming of protein translation in living cells and on paper-based systems, and highly multiplexed, precisely quantitative, ultra-high resolution super-resolution imaging using DNA-PAINT. Dr. Yin joined Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School as an Assistant Professor in 2010. He also serves as a Core Faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.