this month THE AUTHOR FILE A new imaging approach forged by deep friendships, joining two fields and two selves. have a double life in science,” says will be: go into infrared, mix it with my physicist Laurent Cognet. His double favorite nanotubes,” he says about his future “Ili ves—one devoted to studying the SELFI projects. physics of carbon nanotubes and the other The SELFI concept grew out of focused on bioimaging—began after he had discussions in the lab, mainly between completed his PhD degree in cold atom Cognet and Pierre Bon, a phase imaging physics at Paris Sud University. He’s now a microscopist and the paper’s first author. research director with the French national “Science is a meeting between people,“ says science agency CNRS, through which he is Cognet. To him, human interactions are a a scientist at the University of Bordeaux’s key factor when doing science. optics institute. Scientific friendships are important A physicist by heart, conviction and to Cognet and he cultivates them with training, but curious about biology, Cognet coauthors and collaborators in the lab, sought to look at biological questions next door and halfway across the world. through the eyes of a physicist. As a Laurent Cognet (Image: P. Bon) Friendships in science take trust, he says. postdoctoral fellow he worked on single- Stealing ideas from others might lead to a molecule microscopy techniques with paper, he says, but “then you lose a friend.” Thomas Schmidt at Leiden University harnesses the principles of self-interference Discussing science with friends makes him studying the movement of molecules such that single molecules can be localized happy. “That is why I am doing this job,” in membranes. as deep as 50 μ m in tissue. he says. After that, he landed a position in The method addresses axial blur in When Cognet is not in the lab or Bordeaux to work with Brahim Lounis ways other methods such as astigmatic cultivating science friendships, he spends and also Michel Orrit, who pioneered microscopy cannot. Those approaches time with family and friends. “I like visual single-molecule detection in fluorescence essentially encode a position of a molecule things; I guess that’s what put me in optics,” microscopy. There, in collaboration based on aberration, says Cognet. When he says. He enjoys art, photography and with others, Cognet first detected single additional aberration comes into play as using all senses. “I’m a French guy, I like molecules in a neuronal membrane with a result of sample-related issues, “nothing food, I love wine and coffee,” he says, adding a microscope he had custom-built. He works,” he says. It becomes impossible to that this might be typical for someone who remembers exclaiming “They move!” when measure a molecule’s position accurately. lives in Bordeaux. He is serious about wine he saw the movement of neurotransmitter With SELFI, “the beam is self-referenced and oenology. Wine appeals to the senses receptors in a synaptic membrane. by itself,” he says. The team figured out and pairs well with friendships, he says. Both how to generate interferences that cancel take patience and are shaped by time. “Science is a meeting out aberrations along the path of light. Cognet feels inspired by Orrit, whom he To do so, they designed a diffraction counts as a friend. Cognet’s culture ranges between people.” grating and developed software to interpret from nanometers to millimeters, from cold He spent a CNRS- and Fulbright- the interferogram. atoms to brain physiology, says Orrit. His financed sabbatical at Rice University—his With SELFI, Cognet and his lab encode “flair for selecting questions and methods wife and three children came along—and the axial position based on phase imaging, matches his care in collecting fine Bordeaux he explored the many open questions about which leverages a light trait that is less wines,” he says. “Laurent’s sunny character the physics of carbon nanotubes. “And, at sensitive to aberration. Bringing together makes science relaxed as well as enthralling, the same time,” he says, “I always had that in phase imaging and fluorescence microscopy both for his group and his colleagues.” mind: what can I do with those in biology?” is a way to “use another property of the In recent years, Cognet has been merging light people didn’t use before for that,” says Vivien Marx his two lives. Part of that merging is the Cognet. “Instead of looking at intensity you Published online: 31 May 2018 development of SELFI, a method that look at the phase of the light.” https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-018-0013-3 enhances the possibilities of 3D super- The method can be combined with resolution imaging in tissues . Typically, different super-resolution microscopy References aberration muddies the view when techniques. The team did so with SELFI- 1. Bon, P. et al. Self-interference 3D super-resolution microscopy for researchers try to image tissue regions STORM, and it could work with SELFI- deep tissue investigations. Nat. Methods https://doi.org/10.1038/ deeper than the top layer of cells. SELFI PALM or SELFI-PAINT, he says. “Next steps s41592-018-0005-3 (2018). NATURE METHOds | VOL 15 | JUNE 2018 | 397–400 | www.nature.com/naturemethods © 2018 Nature America Inc., part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Nature Methods – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018
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