Phase contrast image—taken over a 20-hour period—showing collective cell migration over a micropattern of celladhesion protein molecules (fibronectin)ALVÈOLE LAB, FRANCEStudying the influence of a cell’s microenvironment on its behavior and function is important for many fields of research, such as developmental biology, oncology, or toxicology. To study them, scientists have developed “micropatterning” techniques, which involve creating protein patterns to cultivate living cells. But it’s difficult to monitor and regulate the proteins surrounding a cell in vitro, and such techniques are often limited to the use of a single protein.

To make things easier, imaging specialists and cell biologists have developed a device—called PRIMO—that can print complex patterns consisting of multiple proteins in order to cultivate cells and uses a UV illumination system to visualize them.

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