Journey to the Center of the Cell
A new 3D model takes us on an unprecedented journey into the inner workings of living cells
Luke Turner | | Quick Read
Would you like to see the intricate, complex structures inside a living human cell? Until recently, this would have been unheard-of. Now, the Allen Institute for Cell Science has developed a comprehensive three-dimensional model of a live human cell that allows researchers to dig into our bodies’ innermost secrets. The probabilistic model can accurately predict the shapes and locations of structures within a cell, a novel ability that the researchers hope will enhance our knowledge of cellular processes and facilitate a better understanding of human disease. To find out more about the mechanics and potential significance of the model, we went straight to the source.
What inspired you to develop this model?
Fluorescence imaging is incredibly powerful in that it allows us to see specific structures, but limited in that it only allows us to see a few components of living cells at any given time. We needed to develop methods that allowed us to integrate both of these abilities. Neural networks were a natural starting point because they permit us to scale the integration of dozens of cellular components, each learned from thousands of images, relatively easily.
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