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Cell biology

Raman spectroscopy is a non-invasive and label-free technique. Extract chemical information without the need to manipulate genes, or use stains or antibodies. This helps ensure the results reflect the true chemistry of the cells.

Identify cells

Use Renishaw Raman systems to identify and distinguish, for example:

  • cancer cells from normal cells
  • stem cells from differentiated cells
  • different sub-states in a cell population (e.g. stem and progenitor cells)

You can identify cells without known markers, based on their inherent chemical profiles. There is no need to conjugate with antibodies or manipulate genes.

See fine biological detail

With high spatial resolution confocal Raman analyses you can examine:

  • intracellular structures and biomolecules in individual cells, in situ
  • the chemical contents of inclusions in yeast cells
  • the lipid contents in cancer cells, to better understand lipid metabolism

Study individual cells within a population and determine cell-to-cell variability. For example, you can analyse the distribution of lipids and DNA in healthy and abnormal cells.

Study live cells

You can equip your Renishaw Raman system with a cell incubator. This chamber can control temperature, CO2 concentration, and humidity to keep cells in their normal physiological states during analysis.

Live cell data provides a better representation of any dynamic processes than end point experiments. For example, you can monitor the cells' response to changes in their environment or drugs. These responses may manifest themselves as metabolic or morphological changes, or cell death (apoptosis), all of which are detectable by Raman spectroscopy.

Resolve changes within cells in 3-D

Gather chemical information and produce 3-D views of your samples, and use these to verify the uptake of materials by cells. You can also determine the volumes of the cell and its organelles.

  • Images of glioma cells Images of glioma cells

Download an application note

  • Application note:  Cell imaging with the inVia confocal Raman microscope Application note: Cell imaging with the inVia confocal Raman microscope

    With Renishaw’s inVia confocal Raman microscope you can identify and characterise samples to provide chemical, spatial and structural information on multiple types of molecule, without labelling. It provides rich, detailed, chemical images and highly specific data at high spatial resolution, making it ideal for studying cells.

  • Application note:  Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) imaging using the inVia confocal Raman microscope Application note: Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) imaging using the inVia confocal Raman microscope

    Raman imaging is a powerful research tool for understanding the molecular composition, structure and distribution of different chemical species. Nano silver/gold colloids and roughened metallic substrates can be used to amplify the intensity of the Raman scattering of adsorbed molecules via SERS. This can increase the sensitivity and/or the specificity of the analysis. SERS imaging can be used to evaluate the efficacy of delivery of nanoparticles (NPs) into cells/animals. SERS measurement of labelled or surface-modified NPs can also be used for biosensing, multiplexing and theranostics.

Download an article from The Pathologist magazine

  • Portrait of a dying cell Portrait of a dying cell

    The December 2015 issue of 'The Pathologist' featured an article describing how Raman spectroscopy is a non-invasive way of obtaining morphological and chemical information about cells that may lead to better cancer research.

Find out more

You may be interested in these papers:

Lau et al (2014) Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging 3: 237-247
McAughtrie et al (2013) Chem Sci 4: 3566-72
Kim et al (2010) Anal Bioanal Chem 398: 3051-3061

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Latest cell biology news

inVia used to study blood stored in plastic blood bags

The Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, is leading the way in the use of Raman spectroscopy as a tool for monitoring biochemical changes and inter-donor variability in stored red blood cell (RBC) units1,2. The research group of Professors Michael Blades and Robin Turner recently published this work in the Analyst.

Raman spectroscopy used to detect radiation damage in cells and tissues during cancer treatment

The Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Canada, hosts a multidisciplinary group of physics, engineering and radiation oncology scientists. It is interested in detecting and understanding the damage in cells and tissues caused by ionizing radiation used in cancer treatments.