A team of researchers has combined the expansion microscopy method, a nanoscale microscopy technique, and virtual reality (VR) to allow enlarging, exploring, and analyzing of cell structures beyond conventional light microscopy’s capabilities. The advancement aims to improve researchers’ knowledge of autoimmune and infectious diseases and their capacity to create disease diagnostics and preventative and therapeutic measures.
By physically enlarging a biopsy, they have been working on the expansion microscopy method, which enables scientists to observe minute features in biological samples under conventional microscopes.
Researchers can chemically expand the size of the samples by chemically converting tissue samples into water-soluble hydrogels. After that, a procedure is used to loosen the tissues and enable a 100X increase in capacity. To study interactions between cells and their structures, the tissues and molecules in the sample can then be labeled, imaged, and assembled into a complex data collection.
The technology’s drawback is that it takes 2-3 orders of magnitudes more data than can be interpreted. The Gates Foundation funding combines the expansion microscopy method with a VR method created at BRI to aid in the solution of that issue.
Researchers and doctors in poor nations will have affordable access to the technology that transforms data from expansion microscopy into VR 3D images. Additionally, it will enable up to six people to work together and simultaneously view the same sample online.
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