Novel graphene-based technique enables imaging living, wet cells

Researchers from DGIST have developed a graphene-based method to keep living, wet cells viable in an ultra-high-vacuum environment, allowing an accurate high-resolution visualization of the undistorted molecular structure and distribution of lipids in cell membranes. This approach could enhance existing bioimaging abilities, thus improving the understanding of mechanisms underlying complex diseases such as cancers and Alzheimer’s.

Nanoimaging is used to structurally characterize subcellular components and cellular molecules such as cholesterol and fatty acids. But it is not perfect, as Professor Dae Won Moon of Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Technology (DGIST), Korea, lead scientist in a recent groundbreaking study advancing the field, explains: “Most advanced nanoimaging techniques use accelerated electron or ion beams in ultra-high-vacuum environments. To introduce cells into such an environment, one must chemically fix and physically freeze or dry them. But such processes deteriorate the cells’ original molecular composition and distribution.”

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Graphene applications, Medicine, Technical / Research