Prize honors world-renowned scientists and scholars who have made outstanding achievements in biochemistry and biophysics, cognitive science, environmental sciences, history, and medicine
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has awarded the 2018 Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics to Xiaowei Zhuang, the David B. Arnold Jr. Professor of Science, professor of chemistry & chemical biology and of physics, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
The Heineken Prize recognizes Zhuang’s far-reaching impact on scientific research, health, and medicine. She is one of the pioneers of super-resolution microscopy. She developed single-molecule and super-resolution imaging methods, which she then used to make fundamental biological discoveries. Her inventions have transformed research capabilities for numerous fields, from microscopy and chemistry to biology and medicine.
To understand how cells function — and malfunction in diseases — we need to watch how molecules in cells work and interact. Zhuang and her lab invented one of the first and most widely used super-resolution imaging methods known as STORM (Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy), which circumvents the diffraction limit of light microscopy.
This powerful method enables researchers to watch, with nanometer-scale resolution, the molecular interactions, dynamics, and functions in cells.
Using STORM, Zhuang and her lab have achieved three-dimensional, multicolor super-resolution imaging, obtained spatial resolution of sub-10 nanometers, and demonstrated live-cell super-resolution imaging with sub-second time resolution.