Researchers: Luke Hammond & John Lock
About the research:
Our research is focused on visualising dynamic events in cancer and neuronal cells in 4-dimensions (3-dimensions over time). This work includes how proteins are delivered to the cell surface and how the carriers they travel in form detach from the Golgi. We have been using the ACRF Dynamic Imaging Facility to do high-speed 4-dimensional imaging in multiple colours (fluorophores). The technique we are using to do this has not yet been attempted in Australia, and as far as we currently know, in the world.
Researchers: Nicole Den Elzen & Samantha Stehbens
Associate Professor Alpha Yap’s laboratory researches how cells adhere to one another to form tissues and organs. Moreover, we are interested in how the loss of such cell adhesion is implicated in the spread of cancer throughout the body (i.e. metastasis). E-cadherin is a protein essential for cell adhesion and whose reduction is linked to cancer progression. By analyzing how the function of E-cadherin is regulated in the cell, we hope to gain insight into how organ formation is regulated during embryo development and how loss of this regulation contributes to cancer.
How the ACRF facility is assisting in this research
The ACRF Dynamic Imaging Facility confocal microscopes allow us to take very high resolution images of cells, and to determine the locations of different proteins, each labeled with a fluorescent marker, within the cell. The localization of proteins in normal and cancer cells gives us important information on how these proteins function. The ACRF facility microscopes are able to distinguish many fluorescent markers simultaneously so that we can examine a vast range of proteins at the same time, something not possible on other available microscopes. We can also take 3-dimensional images through cells, giving us critical detailed information not present in a single 2-dimensional image. Finally, we can examine protein dynamics in live cells over time, essentially providing us with 4-dimensional information.