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Microscopy and Imaging

An Introduction to Live Cell Imaging

The term live cell imaging collectively refers to the technologies used to capture images of cells in a living, active state, either as individual static pictures or as time-lapse series. Correspondingly, the applications of live cell imaging can be divided in two broad categories: image recording of cells in their natural, living state observing and…

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An Introduction to Cardiac Optical Mapping

What Is Optical Mapping and How Is It Used? Synchronisation of the contraction of heart muscle is essential for the efficient pumping of blood through the circulatory system. Cardiac contraction is controlled by the regulated spread of electrical impulses from cell-to-cell within the heart.  In pathological conditions, these electrical impulses can become disordered and lead…

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New-ISH on the Block: Introduction to RNAscope®

When sensitive detection of RNA is required, many scientists turn to qPCR as it is a versatile technique that can detect many different types of RNAs from mRNA, non-coding RNA, to microRNA. However, if you also require spatial information, like which cells are producing your RNA, the technology of choice has historically been in situ…

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Automated Image Analysis – the Future of Data Acquisition?

Automated image analysis uses finely tuned software to extract data from digital images. Algorithms recognize specific shapes and patterns in the images and gather quantitative information that is then used for further data analysis. The pharmaceutical and biological research industries have benefitted greatly from this technology, which allows researchers to analyze hundreds—if not thousands—of samples…

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Safranin: Cheap Stain to Visualize Chromosomes

As an undergraduate student, one of the first experiments I did was staining chromosomes in mitotically active onion root tip cells. The stains that are conventionally used for this purpose are acetocarmine or aceto-orcein (which smell like vinegar). However, the cost of these stains is quite high. Personally, I find safranin, which is another stain, more…

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Color Transmission Electron Microscopy

There are two types of electron microscopy—transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). SEM creates fascinating 2D images by bouncing electrons off the surface of the sample. I highly recommend searching for SEM samples on Google images. While SEM images are aesthetically amazing, the TEM images bring us inside the world of the…

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From Cells to Scope: Chamber Slide Immunochemistry

Immunolabeling is the tried-and-true immunochemistry method of getting the stain you want onto the molecular target you want. Whether that target is contained within a large region of tissue (immunohistochemistry) or inside a single cell (immunocytochemistry), the ability to accurately label large numbers of samples will simplify your workflow and help you to achieve excellent…

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Lasers for Confocal Microscopy: Part II

Continuing from our first article on lasers for confocal microscopy, we will now discuss two specialized types of lasers: lasers for two-photon excitation and tunable, white light lasers. We will also discuss the applications of the two lasers. Lasers for Two-Photon Excitation The two-photon absorption phenomenon was first described for microscopy in 1931. Here, the…

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The A to Z of Histological Stains

With the use of stains and dyes, histology allows researchers to visualize particular tissue structures, chemical elements within cells, tissues and even microorganisms. The advent and evolution of histology follows that of microscopy as outlined in ‘A (very) Short History of Histology’. Histology, which means ‘tissue science’ became an academic discipline in its own right…

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Tissue Embedding Throwdown: Paraffin vs OCT vs Resin

Tissue embedding and sectioning is a backbone of many biological research labs. While commiserating with other grad students over tedious hours spent in the lab, you’re probably aware that there is more than one way to slice up a chunk of tissue. We’ve previously introduced what to consider when choosing a tissue embedding medium and…

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How to Use CellProfiler for Cell Imaging

Are you trying to figure out how to calculate intensities of fluorescently-labeled single cells? Do you have cells at high densities or present in clusters? Are you worried that your current cell imaging analysis software is unable to mark clear boundaries around each cell in a cell cluster? Don’t fear, because CellProfiler 2.1 is here to…

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How to Obtain Stellar Staining with Fluorescent IHC

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This is especially true in the case of fluorescent immunohistochemistry (IHC). With the flip of a microscope filter, you can gaze into a brightly colored galaxy of red, green, and blue pixels, waiting to be captured and presented in your next publication. If you are interested in…

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