MAY 18, 2018 5:59 PM PDT

Seeing Inside of a Living Cell

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The Allen Institute for Cell Science created a powerful tool for visualizing the human cell, called the Allen Integrated Cell. It will allow researchers to easily see structures as they exist in live cells, interacting in their normal environment.

"This is a new way to see inside living human cells," said Rick Horwitz, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Allen Institute for Cell Science. "It's like seeing the whole cell for the first time. In the future, this will impact drug discovery, disease research and how we frame basic studies involving human cells."

"Nearly every biologist has mental models of whole cells that are pieced together over their careers with information from dozens of different types of data," said Graham Johnson, Ph.D., Director of the Animated Cell. "The Allen Integrated Cell provides a new option, where 3-D visualizations of whole living cells link to analysis tools to allow for more direct data-driven exploration and hypothesis generation."

This tool is the culmination of a large amount of data. To create it, tens of thousands of cells were imaged after being tagged with fluorescent labels. Artificial intelligence was then applied to the work. Various algorithms were used to create an overview of the cell's structure and function. Now it is freely available online at allencell.org.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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