Oct 14, 2016 – Seeing the unseen

Grounds for Science

with Sam Kenny & Rachel Thayer

Friday, October 14, 2016 at 7:00 PM at Scarlet City Espresso Bar

STORM: Life in Color at the Nanoscale

Living organisms derive their incredible structural and functional diversity from details at the nanoscale.  While fluorescence microscopy enables scientists to visualize specific components in cells, it suffers from limited resolution.  Recent developments in fluorescence microscopy have led to STORM, which can provide a much more detailed view of cellular structures, and can therefore help elucidate how cells function at a fundamental level.  Come learn how this technology works, and see a few real examples of groundbreaking biological discoveries made possible by STORM.


Sam Kenney

Sam Kenny

Sam Kenny grew up in Lakeville, MN, a suburb of the Twin Cities. He completed his undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, studying chemical oscillators. He’s just started his 4th year at UCB, working towards a Ph.D. in Chemistry. In his free time, he enjoys motorcycles, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

Changing Color by Changing Shape: The Case of the Buckeye Butterfly

From camouflage to mating displays to thermoregulation, color is an important tool that organisms use to go about making a living. In addition to producing pigments like melanin and chlorophyll, many organisms erect nanometer-scale structures that redirect the path of incoming light and cause interference. This phenomenon is called ‘structural color’ and is responsible for iridescence. Come learn how brown Buckeye butterflies evolved blue structural color in just one year, and how their transformation can help us understand the production and evolution of structural color in all butterflies.  

Common Buckeye


Rachel Thayer

Rachel Thayer is a 4th year PhD student in Nipam Patel’s lab, in the Integrative Biology department. She is primarily interested in genetics and evolution and researches butterfly structural color. Her first research experience was on flower development in corn; she’s also worked on notochord development in sea squirts.

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