These days, cell biologists have more tools than ever in their imaging toolbox. During Saturday’s Special Interest Subgroup: Advanced Imaging for Quantitative Cell Biology at the 2017 ASCB|EMBO Meeting, speakers provided a survey of some of the latest methods used to visualize cell structure, components, and processes.

Jan Ellenberg (EMBL) discussed how quantitative super-resolution and correlative electron microscopy combined with cryo-EM could create 3D molecular maps of the nuclear pore complex in human cells. He also explained methods that were providing new information about the position and concentrations of the ringed structures of the condensin complex, which loop around the human chromosome from prophase to telophase. Suliana Manley (EPFL) employs neural net technology (such as automated laser illuminated control algorithms and ThunderSTORM acquisition simulation software) combined with high-throughput super-resolution light microscopy to build 3D models of asymmetrical structures using only 2D images. Diane Lidke (University of New Mexico) explained how her lab is elucidating the early stages of signal transduction by capturing SYK binding dynamics through quantification of antigen receptor phosphorylation.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania also detailed gene-based imaging methods tied to mRNA, tRNA such as Single-Molecule Imaging of Nascent Peptides, Halotag Translational Imaging, as well as methods linked to the Ultra-Conserved Element regions of DNA.

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Mary Spiro