Life isn’t flat. From viruses to cancer cells, researchers can learn a lot more by seeing biology in three dimensions. The next speaker in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute’s Distinguished Public Lecture Series, Sriram Subramaniam, will present on, “Visualizing Biology in 3D: Why Does It Matter?”

Watch the livestream video.

The talk will take place on Thursday, April 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia. A reception will precede the event at 5 p.m. in the Virginia Tech Carilion café.

The Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Distinguished Public Lecture Series is free and open to the public.

“Contemporary biological and medical research requires unprecedented levels of understanding of the structure and interactions between molecules and cells under healthy conditions and in response to infection, cancer and degenerative disease,” said Michael Friedlander, the vice president for health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech and the executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. “A small group of elite investigators in the world have pushed our ability to visualize, measure and understand these interactions at a level of precision only dreamed about by scientists even as recently as the twentieth century.  Dr. Subramaniam is among the most prolific and innovative of these leaders.  His work has been quietly, and more recently loudly, transforming our views of life itself.”

Subramaniam is the chief of the Biophysics Section of the Laboratory of Cell Biology at the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research.

“Three-dimensional imaging provides unexpected insights into diverse problems in modern biomedical research, ranging from infectious disease and cancer to neuroscience,” said Subramaniam, who also holds a visiting faculty appointment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Subramaniam combines novel technologies for 3D imaging with computational and cell biological tools in an effort to obtain an integrated and quantitative understanding of cells and viruses at the molecular level. He focuses on the structure and mechanisms by which HIV enters cells, and continuously works to develop increasingly innovative 3D imaging technologies. Subramaniam is especially interested in establishing automated, high-throughput workflows for structure determination of small, dynamic molecular complexes.

Subramaniam received his doctoral degree in physical chemistry from Stanford University, and he completed postdoctoral training in the Departments of Chemistry and Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Subramaniam visit us in Roanoke to share his insights and views of the living world to better understand life and disease,” Friedlander said. “We are also particularly excited about the opportunities his visit presents for collaboration and interactions with our own early career pioneers and their students in this field—most notably Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute’s Dr. Deborah Kelly, who has developed structural oncology. This new area uses high-resolution molecular imaging to parse the way large molecules are made and interact in cells, specifically in disorders such as triple negative breast cancer.”


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