Live-cell imaging enables studying dynamic cellular processes that cannot be visualized in fixed-cell assays. An increasing number of scientists in academia and the pharmaceutical industry are choosing live-cell analysis over or in addition to traditional fixed-cell assays. We have developed a time-lapse label-free imaging cytometer HoloMonitorM4. HoloMonitor M4 assists researchers to overcome inherent disadvantages of fluorescent analysis, specifically effects of chemical labels or genetic modifications which can alter cellular behavior. Additionally, label-free analysis is simple and eliminates the costs associated with staining procedures.
The underlying technology principle is based on digital off-axis holography. While multiple alternatives exist for this type of analysis, we prioritized our developments to achieve the following: a) All-inclusive system – hardware and sophisticated cytometric analysis software; b) Ease of use enabling utilization of instrumentation by expert- and entrylevel researchers alike; c) Validated quantitative assay end-points tracked over time such as optical path length shift, optical volume and multiple derived imaging parameters; d) Reliable digital autofocus; e) Robust long-term operation in the incubator environment; f) High throughput and walk-away capability; and finally g) Data management suitable for single- and multi-user networks.
We provide examples of HoloMonitor applications of label-free cell viability measurements and monitoring of cell cycle phase distribution.