Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Counting cells

So the last 2 weeks I devoted to Transwell migration assays (4 of them) for an MD candidate that also works for my supervisor. We just needed to hurry and gather a bit of data to have a paper published (deadline of June). Each of my migration assays consisted of 7 different treatments (including controls) in duplicate - that's 14 membranes, resulting in 14 slides. And then I need to take 10 pictures of each slide, and count the cells that have migrated across the membrane (it has holes in it for this purpose).

I've been complaining a lot about counting ... and here's why:
All the little black circles with white centres are the holes, and all the dark blue round smudges are cells. Yeah, I have to count ALL of those (this particular one had 476 cells). Luckily, this is pretty much as bad as it gets - some of the other treatments average around 100, 200 and 300 cells. And I'm using software to keep track of which cells I've counted, so it isn't like I have to remember that. All in all though, it takes an average of an hour of counting per slide. And I'm only half way there...

Oh yeah - and this is a someone nice photo - the vaste majority have 2 photos for the same area because the little membrane is wrinkled and not the whole view is in focus. So I have to flip between the 2 (or 3) photos to make sure I get all the cells without counting them twice.


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H20works said...

funny, I look at that photo as a graphic artist....the first thing I thought was, what a cool background image, love the texture!
LOL, good luck counting, Uli!


LiPeony said...

Oh lolol man that slide reminds me of those horrible times where I have to count red blood cells in class. Unfortunately we had to use a number clicker thing.. so you just hear click click click for like an hour non stop.

Though curious on what this is about. =o

Anonymous said...

Ewww ... I remember doing that in micro with colonies. Gah. One of my dishes had almost 400 colonies -_-. I would hate to imagine how many cells that was.