Precision Motion Tracking – Thousands of Cells at a Time

Researchers have developed a new way to observe and track large numbers of rapidly moving objects under a microscope, capturing precise motion paths in three dimensions.

Over the course of the study–reported online Sept. 17, 2012, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences–researchers followed an unprecedented 24,000 rapidly moving cells over wide fields of view and through large sample volumes, recording each cell’s path for as long as 20 seconds.

“We can very precisely track the motion of small things, more than a thousand of them at the same time, in parallel,” says research lead and National Science Foundation CAREER awardee Aydogan Ozcan. an electrical engineering and bioengineering professor at UCLA. “We were able to achieve sub-micron accuracy over a large volume, allowing us to understand, statistically, how thousands of objects move in different ways.”

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