McCarthy Lecture Series

The Lectureship was established to highlight the contributions made by women in Physics and Astronomy who are recognized as outstanding scientists in their fields. One of these noted scientists is honored through The Kathryn A. McCarthy Lectureship in Physics every three years.

This award is named for former Provost and Professor Kathryn A. McCarthy, J45, mentor and advisor to hundreds of Tufts University community members.

Kathryn A. McCarthy was associated with Tufts University for more than fifty years: as a student, faculty member, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and as University Provost and Senior Vice President. Professor McCarthy received her PhD at Radcliffe College in 1957 and was actively involved in the Radcliffe Institute and The Visiting Committee for Applied Science at Harvard University. She also was Chairman of the Board of Hallmark Health Systems.

Tufts University recognizes her as an outstanding educator and strong leader on behalf of women pursuing careers in science through the establishment of The Kathryn A. McCarthy Lectureship in Physics.

Past Lectures

Imaging the Molecular World of Life
Xiaowei Zhuang, Harvard University
Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 4:00pm
Collaborative Learning & Innovation Complex (CLIC)
574 Boston Avenue, Room 401
Medford, Massachusetts

Abstract: As the fundamental unit of life, a cell is comprised of numerous types of molecules that form intricate interaction networks. Dissecting the inner workings of a cell thus requires imaging with molecular-scale resolution such that these molecular interactions can be directly visualized. However, the diffraction-limited resolution of light microscopy is substantially larger than molecular length scales in cells, making many sub-cellular structures difficult to visualize. Another major challenge in imaging is the low throughput in the number of molecular species that can be simultaneously imaged, while genome-scale throughput (i.e. the ability to simultaneously image thousands of molecular species) is needed for addressing systems level questions. The talk will describe two imaging methods developed to overcome these challenges, focusing on STORM, a super-resolution imaging method that overcomes the diffraction limit and allows imaging of molecular structures in cells with nanometer-scale resolution, as well as some recent biological discoveries enabled by STORM. The talk will also briefly introduce MERFISH, a recently-developed genome-scale imaging method.

About Professor Zhuang: Xiaowei Zhuang is the David B. Arnold Professor of Science and the director of the Center for Advanced Imaging at Harvard University, and an investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She invented the super-resolution imaging method STORM and the genome-scale imaging method MERFISH, and used these methods to make discoveries in areas ranging from molecular structures in cells to cell organization and function in tissues.

Zhuang received her BSc degree in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China, her PhD in physics under the supervision of Prof. Y. R. Shen from University of California at Berkeley, and her postdoctoral training in biophysics in the lab of Prof. Steven Chu at Stanford University. She joined the faculty of Harvard University in 2001 and became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in 2005.

Zhuang is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Organization. She received honorary doctorate degrees from the Stockholm University and the Delft University of Technology. She has received a number of awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Discovery, Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics, National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics, Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics, and the MacArthur Fellowship.

Supermassive Black Hole Growth over the Past 12 Billion Years
Meg Urry, Yale University

From Bits to Quibits: A Quantum Leap for Computers
Susan Coppersmith, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Fun with Ultracold Atoms
Deborah S. Jin, National Institute of Standards and Technology

High Temperature Superconductivity: From Broken Symmetries to Cell Phones
Laura H. Greene, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Magnets: Science, Technology, and "Magic Tricks"
Frances Hellman, University of California-San Diego

Truly the Light is Sweet: Optical Materials and Everyday Life
Laurie E. McNeil, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill