Imaging Systems for Biology: Responding to Multidisciplinary Needs
Advances in computer hardware and software, data storage and processing, optics, systems and instrumentation, labeling agents, and reagents have all contributed to the current surge in imaging in the life sciences.
“The widespread use of fluorescent proteins has in particular had a tremendous impact,” says Magnus Persmark, PhD, product manager at Life Technologies (Carlsbad, CA). “We have had leapfrogging in these various areas, for example bioinformatics, reagents, and instrumentation.”
Continuous improvement has been driven by translational and interdisciplinary research that defines modern biology. Rare is the biologist who can make a career from one type of project. Even rarer is remaining within one well-defined area, say, transcription in lower organisms. As biological complexity has revealed itself, imaging tools have kept up. “We now have the technologic foundation to explore connectivities on a cellular and multicellular level in ways that we have never had before,” Persmark adds. “We’re able to visualize complex cell models, spheroids, mixed cell populations, and stem cells, with the ability to label cells and components, their structure and function, and follow that in time and space.”
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