Peering into Cellular Worlds
By Emily Singer
Traditional cell-imaging systems typically take snapshots of cells at fixed points in time. But an automated microscope developed by Steve Finkbeiner at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease at the University of California, San Francisco, may help change that. Over a period of hours to days, the microscope takes a series of pictures of cells growing on a plate. Specially designed software identifies the cells of interest, which are labeled with a fluorescent tag, and tracks how those cells change.
In this image, a neuron from a rat with genetic mutations similar to those that cause Huntington’s disease in humans is shown in yellow, with a protein cluster shown in red. The blue circles are the nuclei of glial cells, a type of support cell in the brain.