Claims of live cell imaging breakthrough

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University and UCLA combine computational imaging algorithm with super-resolution microscopy.

Monitoring the biological processes inside living cells as they occur, at the molecular level, can be done with more precision than ever by combining “super-resolution” techniques that overcome the fundamental limits set by the wavelength of light with a computational algorithm.

The breakthrough spans cellular and molecular biology, and could help drug discovery by advancing the understanding of how cells respond to drugs.

In 2014, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for early work on such microscopes, and since then the scientific community has been trying to push the resolution envelope even further, and develop techniques suitable for live cell imaging.

Now a collaboration between the Faculty of Engineering and the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University in Israel (led by Prof. Zeev Zalevsky) and thePhotonics Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US (led by Prof. Bahram Jalali) has demonstrated a new way to enhance molecular-level imaging in live cells by combining a recently introduced computational imaging algorithm with these microscopes.

The algorithm, known as the phase stretch transform (PST), can reveal features that would otherwise be undetectable.

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