Microscopy

 

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HET Filaments
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Fluorescent microscopy of cells

Microscopy magnifies small things, of course. Fluorescent microscopy first injects cells with a die that glows under the microscope. The die is engineered to bind to particular structures within the cell so that when it glows it highlights those structures. With two or three different die colors, several different cell structures can be highlighted at the same time.

These images are all of tissue or cell samples from the UCSD Cancer Center. A single snapshot from above creates just one image. By changing the focal plane of the microscope, the researcher can look deeper into the sample's structure. Doing this repeatedly and applying a deconvolution filter creates a stack of images. Each one is a virtual slice through the sample. By volume rendering this image stack in 3D, we created 3D models of the cells.

These volume models are all processed using custom software that was also used to visualize nebula and medical data. Transfer functions control opacity to reveal inner structure. Each die in the sample maps to one of the red, green, and blue channels of the images. Color mixing shows where more than one die was present at a point in the sample.

This project was funded through the UCSD Cancer Center by the National Institutes of Health. Development was in C++.

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