A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) and the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI; Seattle, WA) has combined a nanoscale microscopy method called expansion microscopy with virtual reality (VR) to enable enlarging, exploring, and analyzing cell structures beyond the capabilities of traditional light microscopy. The development aims to accelerate researchers’ understanding of infectious and autoimmune diseases, and enhance their ability to develop disease diagnostics and prevention and treatment methods.
Yongxin (Leon) Zhao, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Carnegie Mellon’s Mellon College of Science, has been developing the expansion microscopy method to physically magnify a biopsy, allowing researchers to see fine details in biological samples using standard microscopes.
The system to convert expansion microscopy data into VR 3D images will be affordable and easily accessible to researchers and physicians in developing countries. It will also allow for up to six people to collaborate and view the same sample remotely at the same time.