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Single-Cell Analysis with NanoSIMS

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In the Dekas Lab, we specialize in measuring the activity of bacteria and archaea on the single-cell level using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS). This powerful technique measures elemental and isotopic composition at 50 nm resolution, allowing the anabolic activity of individual cells to be quantified even when closely associated with other microbial cells, particles, or host tissue. We are currently working on methods to improve our ability to quantify microbial activity on this scale, and increase sample throughput. In addition to using the NanoSIMS to characterize microbial activity in our own marine samples, we collaborate with researchers interested in single-cell activity in diverse habitats, from terrestrial hot springs to pine forests. We are eager to continue expanding the breadth of microbial interactions characterized at this scale, and to link these observations with ecosystem functioning at the local and global scales. Visit the Stanford Nano Shared Facility to learn more about the CAMECA NanoSIMS 50L on campus.