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Method speeds up time to analyze complex microscopic images

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Jose Rhoades
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Cryo-electron tomography permits researchers to study in detail the microscopic structures inside of cells.

Researchers who typically required a week of effort to dissect the 3-D structure of a single cell will now be able to do it in about an hour thanks to a new automated method developed by a team of scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and the National University of Singapore.

The new method will allow scientists to study a large number and a variety of cell types in significantly less time, leading to a more detailed understanding of cellular processes and disease.

The report appears in the journal Nature Methods.

"Cryo-electron tomography is a powerful technology for visualizing the architecture and structures inside of cells at about 100 times better resolution than that of the best light microscope," said corresponding author Dr. Steven Ludtke, co-director of the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging and the Center for Computational and Integrative Biomedical Research and professor of biochemistry at Baylor College of Medicine.

Cryo-electron tomography provides information about cellular processes that cannot be obtained by any other current method.

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