Malaria remains a major problem across large areas of the world. Yen Chin, Viola Introini and Prof Pietro Cicuta working on Biological and Soft Systems at the Cavendish Lab, Cambridge University are studying the mechanical properties of red blood cells by using optical tweezers to manipulate cells. One of the uses of this work is to study cells infected with malaria and investigate how the infection is passed from one red blood cell to another.
Whilst in Prof Cicuta’s lab, he suggested that we give the ioLight pocket microscope a really difficult test and see if it can image a slides of malaria infected red blood cells that had just been produced for his research and was being used with conventional microscopes in his lab on the day ioLight visited.
For this test we used the standard ioLight microscope and its built-in illuminator below the sample. To increase the contrast in the image we raised the sample approx. 5mm. The whole test was done on a corner of a computer desk next to the keyboard – ie in the small space in which you normal use the mouse! – the iPad was either handheld, or rested in on the computer keyboard, so no bench space was required.
Within just a couple of minutes the microscope produced the im
age above, which clearly shows the red blood cells, and differentiates normal red blood cells from those with an internal black area, which indicates that the cell has been infected with malaria.
This is a great demonstration of the 1µm resolution of the ioLight microscope and shows how good images can be obtained directly to a tablet or phone without the need for bench space!
Deptford Pink is a rather pretty pink flower (http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/deptford-pink) which is extremely rare and facing a very real risk of extinction in the wild over the next century. Conservation efforts have been recently focussing on collecting seeds from sites where the plants still occur, in the hope of creating a living ‘Ark’ of seeds at the Millennium Seedbank at Kew, from which we can re-introduce sites in the future
The seed is a rather interesting shape, and under the ioLight portable microscope you can see that the surface is covered in a curious array of raised bumps, almost like the bark on a tree!
Thanks to Dominic Price of the Species Recovery Trust for the seed and information on Deptford Pink (http://www.speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk/)
At last! A chance for you to come and try out the Magnificent Mobile Microscope yourself in Cambridge.
Please join us at the Anglia Ruskin University on Saturday afternoon a try the microscope for yourself. You can also talk to the team and hear the story of how we developed the microscope and when they will be on sale.
Remember to bring a sample, a small jar of pond water, a dead bug or just your hair!
See you on Saturday, full details at e-Luminate Festival
ioLight has invented a portable microscope, with a resolution of better than 1μm, which produces beautiful pictures of animal and plant cells and displays them directly onto your tablet or mobile phone.
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