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Microscopy & Microtechniques Focus

Oct 26 2007

Author: Wolfgang F. Graier and Roland Malli on behalf of Unassigned Independent Article

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One of life science’s primary challenges is to understand and define the role of a vast number of proteins in cellular processes associated with health and disease of living organisms. Revolutionising this research is the development of a wide range of fluorescent probes that can be used to non-invasively interrogate living cells, new microscope technologies and powerful computer software and hardware for digital image processing and analysis. These technical innovations in photonics, microscopy and IT have played a key role in the emergence of live-cell imaging as a viable laboratory tool, as well as a routine methodology that is practised in a wide range of biomedical research disciplines. As a result there have been an increasing number of studies employing live-cell microscopy and imaging techniques at cellular and sub-cellular levels. Microscopy has progressed from the purely structural characterisation of fixed cells towards the investigation of processes in living cells. Static morphological observation can now be complemented by the characterisation of the three-dimensional (3-D) architecture of cellular structures. In turn, these innovations provide the ability to monitor dynamic cellular activities in living tissues with sub-micrometer resolution in realtime, and offer critical insights into the fundamental nature of cellular and tissue function, which are not possible using fixed cell techniques.

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