The Stowers team explained that although microscopes and telescopes are not the same, there are parallels between the way the telescope managed to capture such stunning images, and how the microscopy team at Stowers investigates and examines the cells of organisms.
“The key factor that makes the James Webb telescope work is it’s positioning in space where the impact of atmospheric distortion is minimal,” Jay Unruh, Director of Scientific Data, explained. “We deal with very similar things here at the Stowers Institute, in that most of our samples scatter light which distorts the signal. The microscopy and histology departments here at Stowers employ chemical clearing techniques and immerse the samples in special solutions that eliminate those distortions giving a clear picture of the biological signals from complex tissues,” he said.
Stowers scientists do very similar work on a smaller scale using microscopes to study organisms and produce microscopic imaging for scientific research. This helps our investigators make discoveries in their foundational research and apply their findings to study human diseases that do not have cures. These include Alzheimer’s, diabetes, Parkinson’s, cancer, and more.
Unruh added, “Actually, it often intrigues me that a picture of a galaxy billions of light years away will make the news, but a model of how our cells divide millions of times a second, which we showcase here at Stowers, is completely ignored by the general public.”