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Science AMA Series: We are researchers at Johns Hopkins. We have just developed a new kind of noninvasive probe that visualize living cells in real time and we are here today to talk about it. AMA!
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Hi Reddit, we are Xingde Li (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/0800034/xingde-li), professor of Biomedical Engineering and Wenxuan Liang, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Medicine majoring in biophotonics. Our lab works to improve endomicroscopy in the hopes of someday diminishing our dependencies on biopsies. We have recently developed two new endoscopic probes that have a potential to significantly improve imaging diagnostics. Our first probe uses the same basics from the two-photon microscope but in a much smaller footprint. Our prototype probe, 2mm in diameter, takes advantage of the cell’s own ability to glow and eliminates the need for traditional fluorophores – usually harmful to the human body. This allow us to directly visualize fine structural changes and monitor cell activity in vivo and in real time at histology level but without the need for tissue removal. (https://www.nature.com/articles/lsa201782) Our second probe is even smaller (approximately 500 µm in diameter) but offers us about four times higher resolution than other currently used devices. The small probe size eases the delivery of endoscope to small areas of the body. This can greatly reduce patient’s discomfort during the endoscopy procedure while also providing a high resolution and clear visualization of tissue microstructures. This is very important for detecting disease at early stages when tissue microstructural changes are subtle and the disease is still at a manageable stage. (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01494-4 ) We will be back at 1pm ET today to answer your questions.