Monday, April 15, 2019

Small Cell, Big Breakthrough

Vadim Backman, a professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University, wanted to understand the motion of macromolecules. Currently, scientist and researchers have to add dyes or labels to track the movement of cells. However, this method has some limitations. The dyes used are toxic and alter the behavior of the cells and eventually kills them. Professor Backman and his team published an article in Nature Communications, to explain a new technique, called dual-PWS. This technique can image and measure macromolecular motion without labels or dyes. The inspiration for this technique was building off of an quantitative imaging technique previously created by Professor Backman, called the Partial Wave Spectroscopy (PWS), which uses interference and pattern changes from back-scattered light to monitor both the macro-molecular structure and their dynamic movements.

Image: Cell Busting from Medical News Today

When dual-PWS was used to study Eukaryotic cells , the researchers witnessed something that was unexpected. They purposefully used ultraviolet light on the cell to induce death, so they could measure how the movement of the cells' chromatin was changed. The researchers saw, for the first time, that right before the cell was about to die, the cells' genomes burst with fast, instantaneous motion, with different parts of the cell moving seemingly at random. It is still unclear why the phenomenon, named cellular paroxysm, occurred. I think having the correct lab instrumentation and techniques is a critical part of discovering the cure to debilitating diseases such as cancer, and Alzheimer. The importance of macro-molecular rearrangement is crucial to research because it is involved in every biological processes.

No comments:

Post a Comment