Joint Study Leads to Creation of Novel Microscopy Tool

UT Dallas, UT Southwestern Researchers Collaborated on Project;
Paper to be Published in Prestigious Journal PNAS

March 20, 2007

A paper authored by two graduate students and a professor at The University of Texas at Dallas — in collaboration with a team of researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center — details the creation of a new microscopy tool that can be used to study processes in the cells that are key in the investigation of drugs that fight diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.  The paper has been accepted for publication in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

According to the researchers, there are many questions about how antibodies are transported and sorted in cells, and developing an understanding of these processes is key for the proper engineering of antibody-based drugs.  An important tool to address these questions, fluorescence microscopy, which allows dynamic processes to be studied in live cells, is discussed in the paper.  The researchers detailed the development of a new microscope design where several focal planes can be imaged simultaneously, and, as a result of their studies with the new microscope, a novel cellular pathway was discovered for the delivery of antibodies from the interior of a cell to its external membrane.  The existence of this pathway suggests a more direct route for the transport of antibodies through cells than was previously believed to exist.

Prashant Prabhat, who is the first author on the paper, is a UT Dallas electrical engineering graduate student.  Other UT Dallas authors are Jerry Chao, also a graduate student in electrical engineering, and Raimund Ober, a professor in electrical engineering and who has a joint appointment at UT Southwestern.  Sripad Ram of UT Arlington and Zhou Gan, Carlos Vaccaro, Steve Gibbons and E. Sally Ward of UT Southwestern also collaborated on the project.

PNAS is one of the world’s most cited multidisciplinary scientific serials and publishes research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers and actions of the Academy.  Coverage in PNAS spans the biological, physical and social sciences.  PNAS is published weekly in print and online in PNAS Early Edition.


Contact Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu

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