Scientists have adapted an optics technique used by astronomers to render biological processes at both the cellular and sub-cellular level in unprecedented detail.
Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School worked together to build a next-generation microscope powered by “guide star” technology.
“For the first time, we are seeing life itself at all levels inside whole, living organisms,” Tom Kirchhausen, a professor of cell biology and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, said in a news release.
The new microscope can be used to study almost any biological process or system in any kind of living organism. Scientists can use the microscope to render 3D images of a range biological phenomena in real-time.
The technology was originally designed to help large telescopes observe faraway galaxies, stars and planetary systems. The guide star refers to an artificial light source, a laser, that helps the adaptive optics system correct for atmospheric distortion.