Resolution of molecular details within the glycocalyx require ultra-precise imaging approaches. Towards this end, we originally developed Scanning Angle Interference Microscopy (SAIM) to map the thickness and molecular stratification of the glycocalyx. Recently, we significantly improved upon the speed and accuracy of SAIM through the development of an open-source hardware control platform for microscope automation. This project has been released to the public with the hopes of continued community-based development.
New efforts are underway to develop plug-n-play reagents for glycan detection in a super-resolution microscopy technique called Expansion Microscopy (ExM). These efforts represent early steps in our ambition to evolve ExM into a tool tailored for the needs of glycoscience.
We also are actively developing molecularly targeted biosensors and recombinant products to measure important physiochemical parameters in the cellular glycocalyx and at the cell surface. For instance, we recently reported on “Litmus-bodies,” which fuse pH-responsive biosensor with nanobodies for targeting to precise points of interest within the glycocalyx.