Saturday, March 12, 2011

3-D Cell Imaging

Ever since the the first microscope was assembled by simultaneously looking through two glass lenses at the same time, scientists have been refining their need to see how "life" works. Modern technology allows scientists from a myriad of fields to use various types of microscopes to serve specific needs. Some of the various types of Microscopes:

Scanning Probe Miscroscope - Many Variations

In the Article entitled, "3-D Tracking of Single Molecules Inside Cells Using New Multifocal Plane Micropy Method" by ScienceDaily, we are given a view of how a modern Microscope is being used to track a specific cell and its interactions. This article helps to briefly explain the problems with past techniques and the ability and usefulness of the new. Previously, scientists were only able to see one plane within a cell, only producing a two-dimensional image. Because of this, the depth of the image was always hard to judge. With this new technique, the microscope is able to provide a view from various planes, allowing a more three-dimension look once the planes are collected as one single view.

The example provided at the top of this post provides an easy way to understand the basic technique involved. It shows the basic one plane of view on the left, and then the mutli-focal view on the right.

This technique will allow researches, scientists, and doctors to gain a better view on how specific nutrients move through the cell. They will be able to watch as it moves vertically and horizontally through the cell. It also allows them to track a specific cell or body as it moves around the organism and interacts with other microorganisms.

Future uses for this technique and technology could be to visually track how vaccines effect their target and later how they are reproduced and distributed to other cells.

Study Guide Questions:

1. Where schools are the researchers involved in the 3-D tracking technology from?

2. What two technologies were combined to track individual molecules within the cells?

3. According to Dr. Sripad Ram, how does this new technology differ from that used by current microscopy technologies?


American Institute of Physics. "3-D tracking of single molecules inside cells using new multifocal plane microscopy method."ScienceDaily 8 March 2011. 20 March 2011

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