Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Remarkable Results From A New Observatory

Date:
June 11, 1999
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have established a new observatory, but instead of looking to the stars, it is a Cellular Observatory designed to focus inward to study the smallest components of living organisms. Researchers have been able to obtain chemical information from a living cell without destroying the cell or invading it in the process. And for the first time they have been able to do this also on the cell nucleus, the internal control center of the cell.

Contact: Mike Berriochoa -- (509) 375-2460, berriochoa@pnl.gov

RICHLAND, Wash. - Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have established a new observatory, but instead of looking to the stars, it is a Cellular Observatory designed to focus inward to study the smallest components of living organisms.

“We have been able to obtain chemical information from a living cell without destroying the cell or invading it in the process. And for the first time we have been able to do this also on the cell nucleus, the internal control center of the cell,” said Robert Wind, a Pacific Northwest researcher.

Pacific Northwest, a premier national environmental research laboratory, is working to understand the impact of the environment and contaminants in the environment on human life and health.

“This is another step along the path,” Wind said.

Wind and other members of an interdisciplinary team of scientists achieved this result by placing a single frog cell, a Xenopus oocyte, inside a nuclear magnetic resonance microscope imager. This type of frog cell has been widely used by scientists for many decades because it shares numerous common traits with human cells. The NMR imager works very much like a magnetic resonance imaging unit at a modern hospital.

However, while the hospital units can only examine relatively large sections of the body containing millions of cells, the NMR microscope can be used to examine much smaller collections of live cells, or, as in the case of an oocyte, even a single cell can be studied. And this microscope not only produces an image of the cell, it also reveals information about the cell’s chemical composition and allows scientists to monitor changes in both the shape and the chemical contents of the cells as they occur.

Traditional analytical methods require the destruction or significant modification of cells to examine chemical changes within them. This means that valuable information is lost, resulting in an inaccurate description of the cell. The non-invasive NMR method will enable scientists to monitor how live cells respond as they are exposed to changes in their environment.

“The connection between environmental exposure and human health problems has long been known, but we know precious little about what really happens when a chemical substance enters the body,” said Gerald Stokes, associate laboratory director of the Environmental and Health Sciences Division at Pacific Northwest. Stokes compared Wind’s work to a celestial observatory achieving its “first light.”

“Achieving first light in an observatory is exciting, whether it be celestial or cellular. This event puts us on the path toward our goal of being able to study living cells,” said Stokes.

Studying cellular changes in “real time” will help scientists learn how cells fight off diseases, why some cells fail to fight off diseases, how to predict and prevent diseases and to follow treatment of diseases. Also, it will become possible to study the effects on cells exposed to multiple contaminants at the same time and, ultimately, to relate these cellular responses to the effects of environmental exposure on human health.

“The more we learn, the better we will be able to determine health effects of various agents and understand how much or how little is dangerous to human health,” said Stokes.

Scientists will also be able to study the effects on cells exposed to several contaminants at the same time.

“Contaminants don’t always enter our bodies one at a time. We are often exposed to a mixture of very low concentrations of several chemical agents and we need to have a much better understanding of how these agents interact inside our bodies and how our bodies respond to this kind of exposure. This is another area we hope to learn more about,” said Stokes.

Pacific Northwest is one of DOE’s nine multiprogram national laboratories and conducts research in the fields of environment, energy, health sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated Pacific Northwest for DOE since 1965.

###


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Remarkable Results From A New Observatory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990610182430.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (1999, June 11). Remarkable Results From A New Observatory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990610182430.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Remarkable Results From A New Observatory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990610182430.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins