Fluorescence microscope for high resolution imaging and single-molecule tracking

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Despite improvements in the field of fluorescence microscopy, a major drawback of existing microscopes is their spectral resolution, as they can distinguish only up to 3-4 colors at a time and requiring multiple excitation sources, limiting their practical use in biomedical research.  Scientists at OHSU have recently solved this problem by developing the next-generation super resolution microscope (SRM) that allows high precision imaging of biological samples with potentially 10-20 colors at once.  This advanced set up is fully compatible with live- or fixed-cell imaging, enables single-molecule tracking, and shows a 5-10 fold improvement in resolution over existing SRM techniques, thereby promising to be a transformative tool for studying complex, molecular interactions in intact cells.


Technology Overview 

An important caveat of SRM is color cross-talk.  Multiple colors within a single channel often compromises research experiments as it greatly limits the maximum number of fluorophores that can be resolved at a time, thereby slowing the rate of data acquisition.  Thus, there is an unmet need to develop multicolor imaging techniques that specifically address fluorescence bleed-through artifacts.

OHSU investigators have developed the Multispectral Super Resolution Microscopy (MSSRM) system - a powerful and versatile tool that enables simultaneous imaging of biological samples in potentially as many as 10-20 colors.  In contrast to the resolution of existing SRMs that is typically limited to 50-100 nm, MSSRM achieves a spectral resolution of 10 nm that allows it to distinguish multiple colors at once with essentially no cross-talk, using a single light source and without compromising spatial resolution.  This technique can be used to image both fixed (Fig 1) and live (Fig 2) cells.  The unique properties of this system allow many sub-cellular structures to be visualized in one experiment with high resolution.  In addition, this system enables multicolor single-molecule tracking in live cells in just one experiment.  This technology is compatible with most commercial, inverted microscopes commonly used for high resolution biological imaging.



Huang T, Phelps C, Wang J, Lin LJ, Bittel A, Scott Z, Jacques S, Gibbs SL, Gray JW, Nan X.  Simultaneous multicolor single-molecule tracking with single-laser excitation via spectral imaging.  Biophys J, 114(2) 301-310, 2018


Intellectual Property

US and Europe National stage applications


Licensing Opportunity

This technology is available for exclusive licensing.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Anne Carlson
Technology Development Manager
Oregon Health & Science University
Don Kania
Joe Gray
Steven Jacques
Summer Dowell (Gibbs)
Xiaolin Nan
Engineering & Physical Science
Research Tools
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