4. March 2019

Wei Min

Stimulated Raman scattering microscopy for biomedical imaging

Columbia University / New York, USA

Innovations in light microscopy have revolutionized the way researchers study biological systems. Although fluorescence microscopy is currently the method of choice for cellular imaging, it faces several fundamental limitations such as the rather bulky fluorescent tags, color barrier for multiplex imaging, and limited ability for probing in vivo metabolism. To address these challenges, I will present three coherent Raman imaging strategies, respectively. First, we devised a Bioorthogonal Chemical Imaging platform suited for probing small bio-molecules. This scheme couples the emerging stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy with tiny vibrational probes. Exciting biomedical applications such as imaging fatty acid metabolism, glucose uptake and metabolism, drug trafficking, protein synthesis, DNA replication, and tumor metabolism will be presented. Second, we invented a super-multiplex optical imaging technique. We developed electronic pre-resonance SRS microscopy with high sensitivity. Chemically, we created vibrational palettes consisting of novel dyes. This super-multiplex optical imaging approach promises to facilitate untangling intricate interactions in complex biological systems, and can also find broad applications in photonics and biotechnology. Third, we introduced a platform that combines deuterium oxide (D2O) probing with SRS microscopy (DO-SRS) to image in situ metabolic activities in animals. Enzymatic incorporation of D2O-derived deuterium into macromolecules generates carbon-deuterium (C-D) bonds, which track biosynthesis in tissues in situ. Within the broad vibrational spectra of C-D bonds, we discovered lipid-, protein-, and DNA-specific Raman shifts with macromolecular selectivity. DO-SRS, being noninvasive and universally applicable, can be adapted to a broad range of biological systems to study development, tissue homeostasis, aging, and tumor heterogeneity.

Dr. Wei Min graduated from Peking University, China, with a Bachelor’s degree in 2003. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2008 studying single-molecule biophysics with Prof. Sunney Xie. After continuing his postdoctoral work in Xie group, Dr. Min joined the faculty of Department of Chemistry at Columbia University in 2010, and has been a tenured full Professor since 2017. Dr. Min’s current research interests focus on developing novel optical spectroscopy and microscopy technology to address biomedical problems. Dr. Min’s contribution has been recognized by a number of honors, including:

  • Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award (2019)
  • Analyst Emerging Investigator Lectureship (2018)
  • ACS Early Career Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry (2017)
  • Coblentz Award in Molecular Spectroscopy (2017)
  • Buck-Whitney Award of American Chemical Society (2015)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2015)
  • George Fraenkel Fund Award (2014)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2013)
  • National Institute of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award (2012)
  • Young Investigator in Analytical and Bioanalytical Science (2012)
  • Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists of the New York Academy of Sciences, Faculty Finalist (2012)
  • Research Initiatives for Science and Engineering (RISE) Award of Columbia University (2012)

(Source: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/chemistry/groups/min/people.html#MinLab)