Optical techniques are in high demand for the investigation of biomedical processes because they can be noninvasive, real-time and fast. In this talk, I present an overview of the recent advances in pushing the limits of sensitivity, resolution and speed in biological microscopy and how methods from laser spectroscopy, quantum optics and nanoscience have introduced a revolution in this area. In particular, I will show that photophysical improvements at low temperature can lead to optical resolution in the angstrom range, i.e. about one thousand times better than the diffraction limit. Next, I will discuss the need for fluorescence-free microscopy and how interferometric scattering detection (iSCAT) can be used for detecting individual biomolecules as small as 60 kDa in a direct and label-free fashion. This method is currently explored for studies of very fast diffusion and transport in artificial lipid membranes, cell membranes and of single-cell secretion. If time allows, I will also discuss our recent work on trapping and manipulation of very small nanoparticles.