Living cells are miniature worlds bustling with activity. A new advanced imaging method can track cells over long periods of time using only light—no dye or chemicals required—to reveal dynamics and provide insight into how cells function, develop and interact.
Researchers from the University of Illinois and collaborators described the method, phase correlation imaging, in a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. The study also used PCI to look at how elements of the cell’s internal skeleton structure guide transportation within the cell.
“The cell is a very dynamic system,” said Gabriel Popescu, an electrical and computer engineering professor and the leader of the study. “The cytoskeleton is continuously remodeling, there are vesicles that are continuously transported throughout the cell, cells communicate with one another by moving mass around. Most cell-imaging methods take a snapshot and miss this activity. It’s like looking at one frame of a football game. You get some information, but not the whole story.”