Researchers from Singapore and MIT unveil new microscope that can study cells better

SINGAPORE – Researchers at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (Smart), in collaboration with MIT’s Laser Biomedical Research Centre (LBRC), have unveiled a new microscope that will allow scientists to study the material properties of cells.

Microscopes of this kind often require a cell to be stretched to observe its shape, or a fluorescent probe has to be injected into a cell to light it up. This manipulation is often undesirable as it may change the intrinsic properties of the cell.

The newly developed microscope does not require such interventions. It is the first microscope that can capture the nuclear membrane fluctuations of live cells in real time.

The components cost around $70,000 and it took three years to develop the microscope.

The researchers hope their innovation will help pave the way for new studies on the membrane mechanics of a cell’s nucleus.

“Today, many disease mechanisms are not fully understood because we lack a way to look at how a cell’s nucleus changes when it undergoes stress,” said Dr Peter So, Smart BioSystems and Micromechanics principal investigator and director of MIT LBRC.

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