Janelia scientist Harald Hess has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). NAS elects new members every year in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The election of 84 new NAS members brings the total number of active members to 2,382 leading researchers.
Hess is a senior group leader at Janelia. The Hess lab conceives, develops, and implements new microscopy techniques for biology. Specifically, Hess’s work transcends bio-imaging challenges by developing super-resolution 3D optical microscopy and high-throughput 3D electron microscopy. In 2006, in his living room-turned-laboratory, Hess co-invented photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) with Eric Betzig. Hess’s current optics work focuses on applications of the super-resolution microscope called iPALM that can resolve locations to less than 20 nm. These positions can be rendered in three dimensions to give architectural and structural insight to protein organization in cells. Hess and his team are also optimizing commercial scanning electron microscopes for high-throughput and 3D capability. This enables neural circuit reconstruction, full-cell imaging, and the merging of data from scanning electron and 3D optical fluorescence microscopy.