Physical Specimen Expansion

Enabling 3-D Large Volume, Nanoscale Imaging


Welcome to the website for expansion microscopy protocols.

Here you can find relevant papers, protocols, materials lists, and advice on expansion microscopy (ExM), a new technology for imaging biological specimens with fine detail by physically making them bigger through a chemical process that preserves nanoscale isotropy. It enables super-resolution imaging on a conventional light microscope.


Technology papers

Zhao Y*, Bucur O*, Irshad H, Chen F, Weins A, Stancu AL, Oh EY, DiStasio M, Torous V, Glass B, Stillman IE, Schnitt SJ, Beck AH**, Boyden ES** (2017) Nanoscale imaging of clinical specimens using pathology-optimized expansion microscopy, Nature Biotechnology 35(8):757-764. (*, co-first authors; **, co-corresponding authors) (*, co-first authors; **, co-corresponding authors) [Link to paper] [Link to code]

Chang, J.-B., Chen, F., Yoon, Y.-G., Jung, E. E., Babcock H., Kang J.-S., Asano S., Suk H.-J., Pak N., Tillberg P.W., Wassie A., Cai D., Boyden E.S. (2017) Iterative expansion microscopy, Nature Methods 14:593-599. [Link to paper]

Chen, F.*, Wassie, A.T.*, Cote, A.J., Sinha, A., Alon, S., Asano, S., Daugharthy, E.R., Chang, J.-B., Marblestone, A., Church, G.M., Raj, A., Boyden, E.S. (2016) Nanoscale Imaging of RNA with Expansion Microscopy, Nature Methods 13(8):679-84. (*, co-first authors) [Link to paper]

Tillberg, P.W.*, Chen, F.*, Piatkevich, K.D., Zhao, Y., Yu, C.-C., English, B.P., Gao, L., Martorell, A., Suk, H.-J., Yoshida, F., DeGennaro, E.M., Roossien, D.H., Gong, G., Seneviratne, U., Tannenbaum, S.R., Desimone, R., Cai, D., Boyden, E.S. (2016) Protein-retention expansion microscopy of cells and tissues labeled using standard fluorescent proteins and antibodies, Nature Biotechnology 34:987–992. (*, co-first authors) [Link to paper]

Chen, F.*, Tillberg, P.W.*, Boyden, E.S. (2015) Expansion Microscopy, Science 347(6221):543-548. (*, equal contribution) [Link to paper]

Reviews and tutorials

Gao R.*, Asano S.M.*, Boyden E.S. (2017) Q&A: Expansion microscopy, BMC Biology 15:50. (*, co-first authors) [Link to paper]

Application papers from our group

Freifeld L, Odstrcil I, Förster D, Ramirez A, Gagnon JA, Randlett O, Costa EK, Asano S, Celiker OT, Gao R, Martin-Alarcon DA, Reginato P, Dick C, Chen L, Schoppik D, Engert F, Baier H, Boyden ES (2017) Expansion microscopy of zebrafish for neuroscience and developmental biology studies, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1706281114. [Epub ahead of print] [Link to paper]


Talk at TED.com, "A new way to study the brain's invisible secrets," filmed June 2016. [Link]

Contact Information

Please send inquiries to info@expansionmicroscopy.org