Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Solving the mystery of crawling cells

Obtained this from one of the blog readers. Really appreciate you guys sharing with me interesting articles to add in my blog.

This is about a cutting-edge research done by Brain Research Institute at Monash University at Sunway campus.

For full details, go to Monash's Website

Full article is quoted below:-
Solving the mystery of crawling cells
29 January 2008
Researchers at Monash University's Sunway campus are using Southeast Asia's only Live Cell Imaging microscope to solve the riddle of how cells migrate from one location to another and stop at precisely the right location for their purpose.

"At present, science does have some answers to how cells 'crawl' from one location to another in the brain, but not what tells them to stop," said neuroscientist Professor Ishwar Parhar.

He said understanding how this happens could shed light on how to tackle a number of problems in medicine, especially the spread of cancer.

Professor Parhar, who is one of the world's leading neuroscientists and head of the Brain Research Institute at Monash Sunway (BRIMS) said the Live Cell Imaging microscope is being used to watch the migration of certain brain cells in mice foetuses.

"In a growing foetus, certain brain cells are first created at a spot in the nose. From there, these cells migrate to the brain and live there for the rest of our lives."

"We're using this migration to understand the migration process and solve the riddle of how cells migrate and eventually stop at a precise place in the brain," said Professor Parhar, adding that the state-of-the-art Live Cell Imaging microscope offers an environment that can preserve cell life and allow for long-term observation of the cell's activity.

He said researchers at BRIMS are using a delicate technique developed by the institute to extract individual cells from a tissue or examination.

"We pioneered and developed the single-cell extraction technique to allow better study of specific cells that we have genetically tagged for easy detection and further developed it into single cell gene expression studies using a laser-capture microscope."

The laser capture microscope, which is already in service at BRIMS, uses a very thin computer guided laser beam to extract individual cells from brain tissue. "This allows us to pick up and study specific cells without having to deal with unnecessary surrounding cells," he said.

Established in 2006, BRIMS is leading the study of neuroscience in Malaysia and the region, carrying out frontier research in six major areas: behaviourial neurogenetics; brain imaging; nanotechnology; neuroinformatics; molecular morphology; and proteomics & genomics.

Located at its Sunway campus, it is Monash University's leading centre for the study of neuroscience.

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