New technique brings the study of molecular configuration into the microscopic domain
(Press-News.org) Researchers have developed a spectroscopic microscope to enable optical measurements of molecular conformations and orientations in biological samples. The novel measurement technique allows researchers to image biological samples at the microscopic level more quickly and accurately.
The new instrument is based on the discrete frequency infrared spectroscopic imaging technique developed by researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
"This project is about bringing the study of molecular chirality into the microscopic domain," said Rohit Bhargava, a professor of bioengineering, and the director of the Cancer Center at Illinois.
Molecular chirality refers to the spatial orientation of atoms in molecules or multimolecule assemblies. In biological systems, one molecule may elicit a cellular response, while its mirror image could be inactive or even toxic. While vibrational circular dichroism can be employed to help determine a molecule's chemical structure and orientation, VCD measurements are time-intensive and could not previously be used to image complex biological systems or solid tissues samples.
The paper "Concurrent Vibrational Circular Dichroism Measurements with Infrared Spectroscopic Imaging" was published in Analytical Chemistry and featured on the cover.
The novel infrared microscope makes imaging of biomolecule chirality possible by accelerating both the acquisition time and improving the signal-to-noise ratio of traditional VCD techniques. "When you send light down a microscope from a spectrometer, you're essentially throwing away a lot of it," Bhargava said. "For VCD measurements, you also have to send it through a photoelastic modulator, which changes the polarization of light to left- or right-handed. At that point, you don't have a lot of light left, which means you have to average your signal for a long time to see just one pixel within an image."
The Chemical Imaging and Structures Laboratory, led by Bhargava, achieved rapid and concurrent infrared and VCD measurements by building on the framework of their high performance discrete frequency infrared imaging microscope. Instead of employing a traditional thermal light source, the instrument is built around a quantum cascade laser.
"The laser source motivated the whole design," said Yamuna Phal, a graduate student researcher in electrical and computer engineering. "The QCL source has higher power, which means we can acquire faster measurements. Previously, you could only perform VCD on liquid samples, but we can image solid tissues as well. This was never attempted before because it takes so long to acquire VCD signals in the first place."
Kevin Yeh, a postdoctoral research associate, who co-led the development of the microscope, asserted that other applications could arise from the microscope built for this project. "We initially envisioned the discrete frequency infrared microscope as a platform on which other techniques could be built," Yeh said. "We've solved one of these extensions, which is VCD, but we could envision many others."
Although the applications of this technique could span the biological sciences, the work itself is a testament to the strength of interdisciplinary science. "This project was possible only by bringing together thinking from different fields," Bhargava said. "It's a chemistry problem solved by a physics-based design, implemented by an electrical engineering student. It's in our DNA at Beckman to take that kind of approach to solving problems."
Editor's note: The paper "Concurrent Vibrational Circular Dichroism Measurements with Infrared Spectroscopic Imaging" can be found at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.analchem.0c00323.
[Attachments] See images for this press release:
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
DALLAS - March 8, 2021 - A study led by UT Southwestern and Children's Health researchers defines parameters for the number of white blood cells that must be present in children's urine at different concentrations to suggest a urinary tract infection (UTI). The findings, published recently in Pediatrics, could help speed treatment of this common condition and prevent potentially lifelong complications.
UTIs account for up to 7 percent of fevers in children up to 24 months old and are a common driver of hospital emergency room visits. However, says study leader Shahid Nadeem, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at UTSW as well as an emergency department physician and pediatric nephrologist at Children's Medical Center Dallas, these bacterial infections ...
Boston, MA - Financial pollution arises when exorbitant or unnecessary healthcare spending depletes resources needed for the wellbeing of the population. This is the subject of a JAMA Health Forum Insight co-authored by researchers in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School. The Insight was published in the March 8, 2021 issue of JAMA Health Forum.
The authors lay out the rationale for "financial pollution" as a metaphor to express the urgency of addressing wasteful health care spending and to guide innovative policymaking. Akin to environmental pollution, financial ...
When a coastline undergoes massive erosion, like a hurricane flattening a beach and its nearby environments, it has to rebuild itself - relying on the resilience of its natural coastal structures to begin piecing itself back together in a way that will allow it to survive the next large phenomena that comes its way.
Drs. Orencio Duran Vinent, assistant professor, and Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, Distinguished University Professor and Wofford Cain Chair I Professor, in the Department of Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University, are investigating the resilience of barrier ...
You're going at the speed limit down a two-lane road when a car barrels out of a driveway on your right. You slam on the brakes, and within a fraction of a second of the impact an airbag inflates, saving you from serious injury or even death.
The airbag deploys thanks to an accelerometer -- a sensor that detects sudden changes in velocity. Accelerometers keep rockets and airplanes on the correct flight path, provide navigation for self-driving cars, and rotate images so that they stay right-side up on cellphones and tablets, among other essential tasks.
Addressing the increasing ...
Forecasting changes in stock prices may be possible with the help of brain activity in regions associated with how people feel before making investment choices. Scientists could accurately forecast market price changes based on the average brain activity among a group but failed when using only prior stock trends or people's investment choices, according to new research published in JNeurosci.
Scientists have used the average brain activity among a group to predict which videos will go viral and which crowdfunding campaigns will receive funding. In a new study, Stallen et al. investigated if this relationship extends to a more ...
Irvine, CA - March 8, 2021 - A new study from the University of California, Irvine shows that compounds in both green and black tea relax blood vessels by activating ion channel proteins in the blood vessel wall. The discovery helps explain the antihypertensive properties of tea and could lead to the design of new blood pressure-lowering medications.
Published in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, the discovery was made by the laboratory of Geoffrey Abbott, PhD, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the UCI School of Medicine. Kaitlyn Redford, a graduate student in the Abbott Lab, was first author of the study titled, "KCNQ5 potassium channel activation underlies vasodilation by tea."
Results from the research revealed that two catechin-type ...
HOUSTON - (March 8, 2021) - Health care teams must prepare for anything, including the unconventional work environments brought about by a global pandemic and social unrest.
Multiracial medical team having a discussion as they stand grouped together around a tablet computer on a stair well, overhead view
Open communication and trust are essential for successful teamwork in challenging health care situations, as detailed in "Building effective healthcare team development interventions in uncertain times: Tips for success." The paper was authored by researchers at Rice University, the University of Texas MD Anderson ...
Squids have long been a source of fascination for humans, providing the stuff of legend, superstition and myth. And it's no wonder -- their odd appearances and strange intelligence, their mastery of the open ocean can inspire awe in those who see them.
Legends aside, squids continue to intrigue people today -- people like UC Santa Barbara professor Daniel Morse -- for much the same, albeit more scientific, reasons. Having evolved for hundreds of millions of years to hunt, communicate, evade predators and mate in the vast, often featureless expanses of open water, squids have developed some of the most sophisticated skin in the animal kingdom.
"For centuries, people have been amazed at the ability of squids to change the color and patterns of their skin -- which they ...
The perils of machine learning - using computers to identify and analyze data patterns, such as in facial recognition software - have made headlines lately. Yet the technology also holds promise to help enforce federal regulations, including those related to the environment, in a fair, transparent way, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.
The analysis, published this week in the proceedings of the Association of Computing Machinery Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency(link is external), evaluates machine learning techniques designed to support a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiative to reduce ...
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Evolutionary arms races between marine animals overhauled ocean ecosystems on scales similar to the mass extinctions triggered by global disasters, a new study shows.
Scientists at Umeå University in Sweden and the Florida Museum of Natural History used paleontological databases to build a multilayered computer model of the history of marine life over the last 500 million years. Their analysis of the fossil record closely echoed a seminal 1981 study by paleontologist J. John Sepkoski - with one key difference.
Sepkoski's ground-breaking statistical work showed abrupt ocean-wide changes in biodiversity about 490 and 250 ...
LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:
[Press-News.org] New technique brings the study of molecular configuration into the microscopic domain