Michelle Itano

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (NC, USA)

Dr. Itano is a cellular biophysicist, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology and Director of the Neuroscience Microscopy Core at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where she develops and customizes state-of-the-art optical imaging and analysis applications for a wide range of scientific research. She utilizes innovative fluorescence microscopy methods—including super-resolution and simultaneous multi-plane imaging—to investigate how viruses, such as HIV-1, infect cells.

Dr. Itano’s early training in biomedical research was centered on genetic and genomic analyses using Drosophila as a model system at both the University of Colorado at Boulder and at Washington University in St. Louis. As a graduate student with Dr. Ken Jacobson at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Itano used advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques, including applying new methods of super-resolution microscopy, to investigate the function, distribution and kinetics of proteins that form microdomains on the cell membrane and have relevance to human disease. During this time, she became very interested in ways to combine my background in genetics and cell biology to investigate the ways in which viruses and their hosts interact. During her postdoctoral research with Dr. Sanford Simon at The Rockefeller University she integrated the fields of genetics, cell biology, virology and biophysics, by applying her knowledge of studying interactions at the level of a single molecule to better understanding the mechanisms by which viruses lead to disease in a host organism.

In 2019, she was selected to be a CZI Imaging Scientist. She is also very invested in facilitating collaborations between researchers, software and infrastructure engineers and computing specialists to design and disseminate efficient bioimaging pipelines.