Real-time measurement of ciliary activity

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Project Overview

Motile cilia are organelles found on specialized epithelial cells of the respiratory nasopharynx and female reproductive tracts. The function of the cilia is to beat in a coordinated wavelike pattern that serves as a mode of biological transport. Damaged cilia in the nasopharynx can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as the body’s ability to clear excess mucus from the respiratory zone of the respiratory system is diminished. Similarly, fertility problems can arise in females with pathologic cilia of the fallopian tubes as the egg released during ovulation is not properly transported from the ovary to the uterus. A common metric for the study of ciliary health is the ciliary beat frequency (CBF), which is often measured by high-speed microscopy or clearance of radioisotopes. Such methods are inadequate for experiments requiring rapid data collection for multiple samples due to time-intensive preparation techniques and invasiveness. Therefore, the client has requested the development of a light scattering device for the real-time measurement of ciliary activity. The team is in the process of constructing a device using light scattering principles that can accurately and non-destructively measure the CBF of 3 mm diameter tissue biopsies.

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Team members from left to right: Aman Nihal, Benjamin Viggiano, Tyler Ross, Gabriela Betancourt

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Advisor and Client

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