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Smartphones Used for Live Cell Imaging

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Laboratories around the world can now make movies of living cells with their smartphones.

Researchers from Uppsala University gave their old standard inverted microscopes an upgrade using a few 3D-printed parts, off-the-shelf electronics and a smartphone. The upgraded systems provided excellent culture conditions and gave the researchers high-resolution, less expensive images of living cells.

Microscope upgraded with smartphone.
Setting up. The standard inverted microscope is upgraded to a high-quality live imaging station. Courtesy of Linda Koffmar/Uppsala University.
Johan Kreuger, senior lecturer at the Department of Medical Cell Biology at Uppsala University, said 3D-printed images and cellphones can potentially change the way scientists do their work.

"The technology presented here can readily be adapted and modified according to the specific need of researchers, at a low cost,” said Kreuger. “Indeed, in the future, it will be much more common that scientists create and modify their own research equipment, and this should greatly propel technology development.”

Live kidney cells captured by smartphone.  Courtesy of Johan Kreuger.

Live imaging of cells is a very powerful tool for the study of cells, to learn about how cells respond to different treatments such as drugs or toxins.

Kreuger’s study was published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Jan 2017
living cellsimagingMicroscopyBiophotonicsUppsala UniversityJohan Kreuger3DBioScan

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