Our researches focus on two interweaved aspects:
Technology: We want to perfect “an insulin secretion cinema” with a combination of novel imaging modalities and automated algorithms for image analysis, which can be used to study components of insulin secretion machinery from molecular level, cellular level toward islet level. 
We are building a four colors total internal reflection (TIRF) microscope, which will enable monitoring more proteins and their spatiotemporal correlation simultaneously in single cells. Moreover, the system will also be equipped with the capability of doing polarization TIRF imaging, which will provide information of the shape of the plasma membrane. These will give invaluable information about different modes of glucose stimulated insulin fusion.
We are developing methods to do super-resolution fluorescence imaging using traditional dyes and routine labeling methods. By continuing invest in perfecting hardware and algorithms, we expect to improve the resolution to reach below 5 nm in the future.
We have succeeded in imaging and quantitative analyzing insulin secretion from intact islets. In the future, we will perfect that technology (including calcium, membrane potential imaging, etc) and use it in diabetic samples. This will be a more physiological relevant tool and has the potential to be used for screening insulin secretion at islet level.
Scientific questions: With these state of the art technologies, we want to reveal unexplored areas of molecular mechanisms governing insulin secretion and vesicle recycling in pancreatic beta cells from normal or diabetic mice and monkeys. 
1. Spatial profile of two phases of insulin secretion evoked by glucose.
Insulin secretion is not randomly distributed, but exhibited spatial characteristic of “hot spot”. Therefore, we want to study the spatial characteristic of “hot spot ” during biphasic insulin secretion. 
2. Autocrine and paracrine regulation of insulin secretion from intact islet
As we have the capability of imaging insulin secretion from intact islet, we want to address how autocrine and paracrine release of neurotransmitters and peptide from alpha, beta and gamma cells shape the total outcome of insulin secretion, and how defect in one or more components of this network contribute to diabetes.
Lab members:
Liangyi Chen, Ph.D. E-mail: lychen@pku.edu.cnchen_liangyi@yahoo.com
co-PIYanmei Liu Ph.D E-mail: yanmeicool@gmail.com
PI assistant:Tong Sun E-mail: suntong1980@sina.cn
Postdoctoral fellow: Lu Yang, Ph.D. E-mail: yanglu130@gmail.com
Graduate students: Tianyi Yuan, Xiaolu Zheng, Fei Kang, Lisi Wei, Jia Zhao, Wenzhen Zhu, Xiaoshuai Huang, Chengsheng Han, Yulin Zhang
Visit Graduate students: Yi Wang,Xiaohong Peng, Weijian Zong

Address: Room 231, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology 
Phone: 86-10-62764959