Immunoflourescent Assays and the power of light… (Day 71)

Veterinary Latin Revision Cards Vet School

So this morning was all on the different type of immune cells in the body which was pretty cool however the really cool bit came next. Not because of the lecture but because of all the recent breakthroughs in the use of fluorescence both in identification and even in human cancer surgery…. Anyways onto the interesting part 😀

I then had the practical session, which despite the name is not practical but more time sat listening to a lecture. I am struggling here as I learn best being active and doing rather than listening and there are no breaks so we are sat there solidly for 2.5 hours (ouch!). Today was on the Immunofluorescent assay (sounds impressive) which is in the most basic terms is using fluorescent light to identify something under a special microscope. Fluorescence comes about because certain molecules called fluorochrome’s get excited when they receive energy from light and then emit a different colour. Now the theory is pretty similar to that of the ELISA test, except in this case the labelling molecule is a fluorochrome. Now instead of reinventing the wheel and explaining this to you, the professor used a interactive online video so I am going share this with you. Goto http://www.invitrogen.com/site/us/en/home/support/Tutorials.html and then click the first one Get a Basic Understanding of Fluorescence 🙂

Now the exciting thing here is that just today there has been major breakthroughs with how powerful fluorescence and imaging actually is. Using parts from a normal DVD and the physics of lights scientists have created a way to increase the power of the emitted fluorescence by 200 times. This means that where previously crazily expensive microscopes costing millions of pounds have been needed to look for the smallest concentrations of marker fluorochrome’s this will no longer be the case. In fact the technology is so simple it can be used with simple microscopes, and even gives the possibility for this technology to reach schools and collages. The full article is here for anyone interested in reading more http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20338540

Ok so the most exciting discovery that I came across today was from a site I like to use called TED, basically it has loads of videos documenting some of the coolest new things and breakthroughs. I found a video highlighted today that was documenting how fluorescence could be used in surgery to allow cancerous tumours to be colour coded with markers to show the surgeon exactly where to cut. And the most recent project to allow for nerves to be highlighted too allowing surgeons to avoid damaging them, and more exciting allowing easier repair of nerves. You can watch the video with demonstration yourself here: http://www.ted.com/talks/quyen_nguyen_color_coded_surgery.html

This evening I spent doing revision for my resit for my Latin test tommorow, hopefully I will get the 2.5 extra points that I need to pass. Being honest I am not too concerned about my final grade here as I have both Physiology and Anatomy to follow on Thursday. I did still manage to end up with about 450 revision cards with different words and their details on though…

Veterinary Latin Revision Cards Vet SchoolNow back to learning the magic words that’ll let me pass my test! 🙂

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