NIH award for Fang Huang supports fostering new insights into a range of biological processes

Far-field fluorescence microscopy is a powerful tool in biological research due to its live cell compatibility and molecular specificity. A major hurdle over the last ~100 years has been the limited resolution due to the diffraction of light. But thanks to a federal grant, one Purdue researcher hopes to break down the barriers which will allow direct visualization of cellular dynamics and nanoscale architectures in live cells and tissue sections.

Fang Huang, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been awarded a federal grant to support his research focus on ultra-high resolution structural and molecular imaging of cells and tissues.

Overcoming the hurdles will help reveal the structures, functions and dynamics for cellular constituents at the molecular resolution in living specimens, and build nanoscale maps of multiple protein species within a large tissue volume. The long-term goal of the research team is to develop novel optical imaging systems that achieve significant advances in defining the structure and function of cellular constituents in live cells and tissues with molecular resolution. 

The five-year, $2.1M research grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Services began August 1, 2021. The funding comes from the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program, which specifically supports "the nation’s highly talented and promising investigators,” MIRA said.

Huang, who earned his PhD in physics from the University of New Mexico, came to Purdue in 2015 after his postdoctoral training in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University. His research interests include high-resolution optical imaging and instrumentaton, deep learning assisted inference and control, cellular dynamics and structures, and cell division.