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Virtual Nanoscopy Allows Scientists To Capture High Res Cell Map 16

hypnosec writes "Researchers have managed to generate ultra-large high resolution electron microscopic maps of cells by developing new tools that can combine thousands of images taken from an electron microscope thus enabling them to view a cell in its entirety. Use of electron microscopes reveals intricate structures of cells, but with a limitation that only a tiny portion of the cell is captured, which misses the bigger picture. If low-res images are captured to view a greater part of the biological structure, intricate details are missed. A team of scientists over at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands has come up with a technique called 'virtual nanoscopy' that enabled them to ultrastructurally map regions of cells and tissue as large as 1 mm^2 at nanometer resolution."
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Virtual Nanoscopy Allows Scientists To Capture High Res Cell Map

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  • by davidc ( 91400 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ffupdc>> on Wednesday August 08, 2012 @12:37PM (#40919399)

    ... those Election Microscopes. :)

  • Awesome, I'd love to see what they can do eventually turning this into a 3d map. 1mm^3 at nanometer resolution would be a huge data set though. The possibilities of seeing the processes interact from different POV would be very cool though. Throw full motion into the mix and you've got yourself a nice base to create a near perfect replica of life.
    • I'd love to see the viewer support multi-monitor display and synchronization. I have a three-HD-screen setup here .. that would be an awesome way to navigate such datasets, and should in theory not be difficult to add.
    • Here's one example where you can navigate through a neural network reconstructed from EM stacks. It's lower resolution and greater volume than the one here (or similarly from conical tomography), and the UI is very nice. Definitely a huge dataset, hence the crowdsourcing. You do have to sign up, but it's to help science, and it involves playing a game. []
  • It's basically just a variation the familiar technique of stitching together multiple photos to create a panoramic image. But it looks quite useful, because it allows the researcher to zoom in from a lower resolution view down to a high-resolution sub-cellular view. This is valuable, because with high-resolution electron microscopic images it can be "difficult to see the forest for the trees." An example is shown in the paper of visualizing a section of an entire zebrafish at e.m. resolution, a total of 28

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      There seems to be a lot of basic automation that can be done in biology. This is an example - an electron microscope with a computer controlled stage and image stitching.

      I know people who do 3D microscopy of various kinds as well, and generally they have to acquire each image by hand. It's tedious and error prone, and automating it is basically a matter of figuring out how the microscope manufacturer's communication protocol works.

  • Is this much more than the tech behind stitching together multiple photos into a panoramic picture?

  • Well we've been assembling pictures this way for a hundred years, Google Maps being a recent example.

    Nevertheless this may be the first time with an 'election' microscope so I'm sure it deserves a broad patent to protect the idea for the next hundred years (or whatever the term may become under the guidance of our elected officials).

    • Not remotely close to the first time someone stitched multiple TEM images together. This reminds me of the (in)famous 1994 article "A Mathematical Model for the Determination of Total Area Under Glucose Tolerance and Other Metabolic Curves", in which a medical doctor discovered numerical integration.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.