Although prepared slides reveal many details about biological specimens, they always leave at least one question dangling: How does this look when it’s alive? A biologist wonders how the organism or molecular component behaves in a dynamic, natural context, and how it interacts with its environment, making up the very foundation of live-cell imaging. In its most basic form, live-cell imaging allows biologists to examine and analyze living samples. This capability completely changes what can be learned about life, and how that information can be used—from basic research through biotechnology and medicine.
This Essential Knowledge Briefing introduces readers to the general field of live-cell imaging. It explains the fundamental challenges and solutions, as well as describing some of the applications of live-cell imaging through case studies, and it forecasts the key advances ahead.