In the News

New Technology Visualizes Cellular Activity

Grainger College of Engineering (Dec. 20) – Professor Qian Chen uses a technique called liquid-phase transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to capture movies of nanomaterials and living cells as they move and interact. Chen’s partner in exploring this largely uncharted territory is Professor Aditi Das, a membrane protein biochemist who is part of the Department of Comparative Biosciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Together, they are investigating a cardiovascular enzyme that’s involved in synthesizing lipid molecules. These small lipid molecules control our heart rate and keep our blood vessels open. By using liquid-phase TEM, they can get a look at these enzymes without destroying them or perturbing the system unnecessarily.