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Rick Huang

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Biography

Rick attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received a BA degree in Molecular and Cell Biology.  For undergraduate internship, he played a major role in a collaborated study with UC San Francisco on pathogenic proteins in parasites, and this experience encouraged him to pursue a career in research.  After college, Rick continued his scientific training in X-ray crystallography and molecular virology under supervision of Professor Jack Johnson at the Scripps Research Institute and UC San Diego. In a conference, he was enlightened by one of the pioneers in cryo electron microscopy from the NIH and began to see imaging from a different perspective.  After years of seeking diffraction patterns in reciprocal space, he crossed the horizon into real space in where images of biological specimen are directly captured in its native form.  For post-doctoral research, he left California to join Alasdair Steven’s lab at the NIH where he utilized a combination of electron microscopy techniques to characterize different protein assemblies.  Currently, Rick assists HHMI researchers to image protein complexes embedded in thin ice using high voltage electron beam and state-of-art optics.  After image processing with magic algorithms, we can “visualize” protein structure in 3D with breathtaking features that allows us to discover and explore the new frontier in biology.  It feels like yesterday he was playing a toy microscope given from his grandmother two decades ago.  The journey continues today as he drives the most powerful electron microscopes breaking the resolution limit into a new generation of electron microscopy.