Ways Author: Holly Ahern
In many areas of neurobiology and cell biology, researchers who a decade ago were confined to studying stained tissues are today using their microscopes in new ways to directly observe dynamic events as they occur in living cells. Although the optical systems of microscopes have not changed dramatically over the last quarter of a century, new methods of acquiring images and processing microscopic infor-mation have indelibly changed the way that scientists view the microscopic world.
Particularly in signal transduction re-search-the area dealing with how cells send and receive chemical messages-the development of sensitive and specific fluorescent dyes combined with light-sensitive TV cameras and affordable computer imaging systems have led to an explosion of interest on the part of cell biologists and neurobiologists alike.
"In 1985, a [Medline] database search of the scientific literature for references related to intracellular calcium yielded less than 10 papers," says Eric...