W.E. Moerner conducts research in physical chemistry, biophysics and the optical properties of single molecules, and is actively involved in the development of 2D and 3D super-resolution imaging for cell biology. Imaging studies include protein superstructures in bacteria, structure of proteins in cells, studies of chromatin organization and dynamics of regulatory proteins in the primary cilium. Using powerful microscopes optimized for tracking single objects in cells, the motions of proteins, DNA and RNA are being measured in three dimensions in real time to understand processing and binding interactions. A related research area concerns precise analysis of photodynamics of single trapped biomolecules in solution, with applications to photosynthesis, protein-protein interactions and transport measurements.
Moerner has been elected Fellow/Member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, AAAS, ACS, APS and OSA. Major awards include the Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy, the Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics, the Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award, the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry and the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He has also earned the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Moerner earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University.
He joined the Society’s Board of Trustees in 2018.