The PCEM imaging system relies on photonic crystal biosensors to enable label-free monitoring of live cells. The system is a new tool for measuring single-cell behavior that may hold great potential for studying cell-surface attachment profiles, cell-substrate interactions and cell-drug responses. PCEM data can potentially provide unique information for building cell-substrate interaction models with subcellular details. By gathering such information for multiple cell types and environmental conditions, PCEM can enable the construction of a “quantitative live cell footprint library” and provide a useful resource for biomedical and biomaterial research. The ultimate goal is to assist research in wound healing, stem cell therapy, and cancer treatment.
Zhuo, who is collaborating on this project with UI professors Brian Cunningham and Brendan Harley, is a fellow at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and member of Cunningham’s nanosensors research group.
Zhuo provides a more complete description of the research in her recent paper, “Quantitative Imaging of Cell Membrane-associated Effective Mass Density using Photonic Crystal Enhanced Microscopy,” published November 2016 in the journal Progress in Quantum Electronics.