Eureka!: Small Wonders

The Inner Life of Molecules

image of a biomolecule.

Image first published in Nature Methods

By Charlotte Hsu


A powerful new imaging method—developed by UB structural biology researcher Thomas D. Grant—reveals a biological molecule’s intricate internal structure in red, orange and yellow. Until now, scientists would have been able to view only the blue outline. Grant’s technique employs math to capture data that other visualization tools miss. His method dramatically improves how scientists “see inside” viruses, proteins and other molecules, opening the door for exciting innovations in fields from astronomy to drug discovery. “Like being able to see all of a person’s facial features instead of just the silhouette of their face, this added information will enable researchers to better understand molecular structures,” Grant says.