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Cell Biology
the study of the biology of the cell

Cytoplasmic and nuclear intermediate filaments in a rat kangaroo kidney epithelial cell (100x). Image courtesy of Dr. Lynne Chang, Harvard Medical School, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Cell Biology - The study of the biology of the cell

Cell Biology is a large field that aims to understand the roles and mechanisms of fundamental cellular processes as well as their implications in disease and development.  Cellular processes include cell division, motility, differentiation, death, and cell-cell interactions.  Understanding these processes require studying the function and behaviour of intra- and extra-cellular molecules and cellular organelles.  Increasingly, the study of cells is being carried out in the context of tissues, either biological or synthetic simulators, and even whole animals.  As collaborations between cell biologists and computational scientists increase, cell biological studies are trending towards large scale data acquisition and automated analysis.  Modern cell biology utilizes an incredibly large variety of techniques. Nikon meets these demands by providing a range of imaging tools from simple tissue culture microscopes to advanced imaging devices tailored for single molecule imaging such as TIRF and N-STORM.  With its incredible optical sectioning capability, Nikon TIRF is ideal for studying cellular events at the cell membrane as well as cellular processes in reconstituted cell extracts such as individual motors moving on microtubules.  N-STORM enables the researcher to visualize cellular structures at incredible nanoscale resolution, providing super-resolution information regarding their spatial distribution and structure and setting a new standard for co-localization assays.  Another super-resolution system, the N-SIM, provides super-resolution with the advantage of easy sample preparation.  Nikon’s various confocal systems from point scanners such as the A1R+ to field scanners provide a powerful suite of tools for obtaining three-dimensional information at high speeds to capture 4D datasets with ease.  Popular cell biological techniques such as FRAP, FLIP, FRET, and photo-conversion/activation can be carried out and analysed easily with the A1R+ confocal.  Optogenetics studies using photostimulation to activate or inactivate cellular processes with spatio-temporal precision are also possible.  High resolution, high magnification stereomicroscopes such as the SMZ25 and SMZ18 provide a seamless bridge between cell biology and embryology to study cellular behaviour within the context of whole embryos.  The A1R MP+ multiphoton microscope provides optical sectioning and deep tissue penetration for studying single cell behaviour in large tissues or even whole animals.  For high throughput screens, Nikon’s high content screening system provides a flexible platform for designing and carrying out large-scale, automated data acquisition and analysis.  Nikon’s high content assay software allows researchers to design intelligent screens where the results from the automated analysis can drive the acquisition experiment.  Finally, Nikon’s universal software platform, NIS-Elements, simplifies workflow by providing a single acquisition and analysis software for all Nikon imaging systems from stereomicroscopes to multiphoton and super resolution.  NIS-Elements also provides a high level of acquisition customization with powerful graphics-driven programming modules such as JOBS.  The suite of powerful analysis tools in NIS-Elements provides many of the popular image processing and analysis algorithms used in cell biology.

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