Beth Brainerd – Studying Muscle Function

Beth Brainerd – Studying Muscle Function

Low resolution optical image of a living cell
The top photo shows a Zebrafish embryo. In the close-up image below, you can see where orange fluorescent dye has been microinjected into a single muscle cell. However, the optical microscopic is not powerful enough to allow us to see the muscle myofilament structures inside the cell.

High resolution TEM image of dead cell section
The transmission electron microscope (TEM) image below does show the detailed structure of myofilament structures inside a muscle cell. However, this is a thin section of dead muscle cell. We see a flat static planar view of very active three-dimensional structures. This technique fails to show what what these myofilaments do when they contract the cell. Beth hopes that the QSTORM team can help get her to this level of detail in live Zebrafish embryos, in four-dimensions, so that researchers can see how muscles cells really work.

Way-Cool X-Ray Movie of a Monitor Lizard Walking
Beth has pioneered many x-ray imaging studies of animal locomotion. Imagine being able to see the action of the tiny myofibrils inside the muscle cells of this monitor lizard as it takes its stroll through the laboratory!