James Chen, PhD
My research focuses on molecular electron microscopy (EM), and high-resolution single-particle EM in particular. My research goal is to advance molecular EM imaging towards higher resolution and apply EM to molecular and cellular structure elucidation. The research topics in my lab comprise three mutually connected components:
1. High-Quality EM Data Acquisition
Obtaining high-quality EM images is the starting point to achieve better resolution in 3D reconstruction. We have been developing novel imaging techniques to reduce beam-induced specimen damage and movement, to expedite the RCT data collection, and to enable "big data" (terabytes) acquisition and management.
2. High-Resolution EM Structural Analysis
Intrinsically, molecular EM images contain high noise. In order to retrieve the maximal amount of information from "an ocean of noise" we have been developing novel statistical algorithms for single-particle EM data analysis, from high-throughput particle screening, image CTF determination, to particle 2D classification and high-resolution 3D model reconstruction.
3. EM Structural Biology
"Seeing is believing." Utilizing high-resolution molecular EM imaging, my lab has been investigating the structural detail of macromolecular assemblies of biological significance, and membrane protein complexes in particular.