Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Breeding and Building Molecules To Spy on Cells and Tumors

To circumvent the limited spatial resolution of fluorescent protein imaging, we are developing genetically encoded tags for electron microscopy (EM). New flavoproteins photo-generate singlet oxygen molecules, enabling genetically-encoded, correlative, light and electron microscopy. For clinical applications, we need synthetic molecules with novel amplifying mechanisms for homing to diseased tissues. Synthetic peptides provide an amplifying mechanism for targeting fluorophores, MRI contrast agents, and drugs to sites of protease activity (e.g. tumors) in vivo. Separately, we have developed fluorescent peptides that light up peripheral nerves to show surgeons where not to cut.


Rendered GFP

Agar Plate of Flurorescent Bacteria Colonies

Composite of Fluorescent Cells
Anyone outside NIST wishing to attend must be sponsored by a NIST employee and receive a visitor badge.

For more information, contact Kum Ham at 301-975-4203.

Colloquia are videotaped and available in the NIST Research Library.

Roger Y. Tsien
2008 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
University of California (San Diego)

Created December 7, 2010, Updated January 5, 2017