Understanding the inner structure of cells, as well the as cell-matrix structures, offers the promise of advances and connections between both engineering and biology. We present recent advances in structural and chemical mapping of single cells with a set of nanoengineering tools including Focused Ion Beam (FIB), Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Synchrotron-based X-ray Microscopy. Key studies include:
(1) 3D FIB based tomography of single mammalian [1, 2] and bacterial cells . Unique 3D cellular architectures can be reconstructed under different physiological conditions, and even in novel tissue scaffolds .
(2) Atomic and molecular imaging of single cells [2, 5-7]. We have been actively translating analytical methods from material science towards unique biological applications. The aim is to develop correlative approaches combining light, electron and Synchrotron radiation sources to investigate the atomic and molecular signatures in different cellular systems.