Lights, Camera, Action
The pancreas is a network of connected tubes that are conduits for transporting essential digestive enzymes. The mini-pancreas organs in this image are called pancreas organoids. They are tissue-derived structures that help researchers understand how cells build complex organs.
These pancreas duct organoids are labeled with light-emitting molecules called fluorophores, enabling us to visualize nuclear DNA in blue, a tumor suppressing protein in green, and the cellular skeleton in red. Using laser scanning confocal microscopy, we can excite the fluorophores in our sample using pulsing lasers and detect the light they give off in response using a high sensitivity camera. Confocal microscopy has helped researchers focus on the busy highways within the cell, an action-packed environment that is hard to see otherwise.