PHASEFOCUS REPORTS ON DR RAKESH SUMAN, THEIR KTP ASSOCIATE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK: ONE OF THE WINNERS OF THE ASCB CELLDANCE VIDEO COMPETITION WITH HIS ENTRY, CELLULAR HEAVEN AND HELL.
Dr Rakesh Suman, KTP Associate in the Imaging & Cytometry unit at the University of York using the Phasefocus VL20 system
SHEFFIELD, UK, 18TH FEBRUARY, 2014: Phase Focus Ltd (Phasefocus), the company that is revolutionizing microscopy and imaging with the Phasefocus Virtual Lens® technology, reports on the Celldance competition results held at the recent annual ASCB meeting. KTP associate, Dr Rakesh Suman, was runner up with his video entitled “Cellular Heaven & Hell.”
Time-lapse movies of a cellular “heaven and hell,” a dividing crane fly sperm cell and the early development of muscle cells were recognized with the top three awards in the American Society for Cell Biology’s Celldance “Really Useful” Cell Biology Video Contest for 2013. The annual Celldance awards were announced at the recent American Society of Cell Biology Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Simon Atkinson, chair of the ASCB Public Information Committee, which organizes Celldance, describes the awards as the “cellular Oscars.” Says Atkinson, “Cell biology is the most visual of all the life sciences and, through Celldance, ASCB members are being encouraged to use microscopy videos as an outreach tool in education and on the Web.”
Dr Rakesh Suman, a Phasefocus-sponsored Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate at the University of York shared the runners’ up spot with his creation of Cellular Heaven and Hell, a time-lapse video obtained with the Phasefocus VL20 microscope, which uses ptychography to produce label-free, high-contrast, quantitative phase images. The healthy human bladder epithelial cells in “heaven” were imaged under normal physiological conditions every 10 minutes and are played back at seven frames per second. The human bladder epithelial cells in “hell” were treated with staurosporine to induce cell death, or apoptosis.
Describing his work, Dr Suman says, “In the field of biological science, the imaging of key cellular events is usually visualized with the aid of fluorescent dyes. Although use of such dyes is commonplace and widely accepted, they do have their shortcomings as they can perturb the natural functionality of the cell.”
“In my video, a novel technique known as ptychography was utilized to image apoptosis, a key cellular mechanism. I used the Phasefocus VL20 microscope to take high contrast and quantitative images of urothelial cells without using any labels or dyes. In this video, the cells in “heaven” are normal, healthy urothelial cells. Meanwhile the cells in “hell” were treated with the drug staurosporine to induce apoptosis. The microscope was able to clearly differentiate between these events.”
“As the cells start to become apoptotic, they appear brighter in phase and adopt a more spherical morphology, up to the point where the cells rupture. Upon rupturing, the integrity of the cellular membrane is lost and there is no longer a separation between the intracellular and extracellular environment. Once again, this event is easily identifiable due to the quantitative nature of the images. A sharp and distinct drop in phase intensity is observed marking the end point of apoptosis.”
So, to summarise: the Phasefocus VL20 is shown to open up exciting avenues in biological imaging where cellular events and behaviours can be visualised and quantified without the use of any labels or dyes. For information on ptychography and its application for label-free, live cell imaging, please visit the Phasefocus web site: www.phasefocus.com/.
Phasefocus is a venture capital-backed spin-out company from the University of Sheffield founded in 2006. Its principal equity investors are Ombu Group and Fusion IP plc. In February 2013, the Company announced that it had entered into a Licencing Agreement with Gatan Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of instrumentation and software used to enhance and extend the operation and performance of electron microscopes. A prototype “add-on” product for existing electron microscopes has already demonstrated an improvement in resolution of a factor of five over that available using the host instrument’s conventional electron optics. Its products also include an optical microscope used for label-free time-lapse imaging of biological cells, and an Ophthalmic Lens Profiler that can measure soft contact lenses with unprecedented levels of resolution and accuracy.
Technology reference paper:
1Ptychography – a label free, high-contrast imaging technique for live cells using quantitative phase information: Joanne Marrison, Lotta Räty, Poppy Marriott & Peter O’Toole. Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 2369 doi:10.1038/srep02369.
For further information:
Please contact Phasefocus direct:
Phase Focus Limited
Sheffield Digital Campus
Sheffield, S1 2BJ, UK
T +44(0)114 286 6377
M +44(0)7985 042392
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