iLIFE: Imaging Life with Light

iLIFE system is the next generation imaging cytometry system. This is the world’s first portable imaging cytometry that is capable of imaging multiple species (mammalian cells and worms) of varying size (few hundred micrometers to few millimeters) [Micros. Res. Tech. 76, 1101-1107 (2013)][ Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 243702 (2017)]. The system is designed for screening large biological specimens (embryos and worms) during flow. The system is capable of both counting and simultaneous 3D visualization of specimens. The system employs lightsheet-based 3D interrogation system on a microfluidic platform. The heart of the system is the intersection of lightsheet and the microfluidic channel. During flow, the specimens are imaged as they pass through the lightsheet producing sectional 2D images which are stacked together to reconstruct 3D volume. The existing technique are complex, expensive and large. These techniques employ sheath-flow  to collineate the media containing the cells /species. This technique supersedes the existing point-scanning based technology used in Cytometry and has a far superior capability.

The system can interrogate individual or mixed population of multiple species. Imaging of HeLa cancer cells and C. elegans is demonstrated in our recently published paper. Prominent featutes include, real-time 3D reconstruction of C. elegans with a camera exposure time of few hundred micro-seconds. This system demonstrates the capability to image and interrogation living biological specimens as small as a mammalian cell (few tens of microns in size) to as large as C. elegans (a few millimeters in size) in their native environment. iLIFE system has an intracellular resolution that is capable of resolving intercellular components. Internal resolution depends on the photons detected by the detector which in turn is a function of camera exposure time and flow rate. iLIFE has application in diverse disciplines ranging from fundamental biology (analysis of rare cell populations, cell-cell interactions, apoptosis and autophagy) to clinical health-care (non-invasive blood analysis, pathology and drug-screening). An ambitious goal will be in-vitro interrogation (both counting and 3D imaging) of organelles (RBC, platelets and malaria parasites) in blood. Moreover, the simplistic design is well-suited for blood analysis in outer space (astrobiology) and remote locations (developing countries).

[Ref. 1] Raju R., Kavya M. and Partha P. Mondal, Light Sheet Based Imaging Flow Cytometry on a Microfluidic Platform, Micros. Res. Tech. 76, 1101-1107 (2013).

[Ref. 2] R. K. Chelur, S. Padmanabhan, K. Shirlekar, K. Rajan, R. Manjithaya, V. Singh and Partha P. Mondal, Integrated Light-sheet imaging and flow-based enquiry (iLIFE) system for 3D in-vivo imaging of multicellular organism, Appl. Phys. Lett., 111,  (2017).

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