Children's Hospital Boston Launches Virtual Stem Cell Laboratory
March 6, 2006
Web-based Flash simulation allows users to manipulate stem cells and learn about stem cell research
Prod. Manipulate. Investigate. The interactive offerings on the Children's Hospital Boston Research Web site invite users to express their inner scientist. And today the site adds a new feature: a Virtual Stem Cell Laboratory.
The interactive stem cell laboratory is home to a computer-generated "living" culture of embryonic stem cells. When users launch the Flash-based feature, the cells quickly begin to reproduce through the process of mitosis (cell division). Users can then add different "coaxing" factors -- proteins, for example -- to differentiate the cells into increasingly specialized cell types.
From the initial colony of embryonic stem cells, virtual scientists can create 16 cell types ranging from red blood cells to motor neurons. The cells are even programmed to behave like their real counterparts. As the lab produces new cell types, the user learns what scientists know about the cells, including any known or potential therapeutic applications. Run your own experiments at www.childrenshospital.org/research.
More to Explore
Tensegrity in a Cell
For more than three decades, Children's researcher Donald Ingber, MD, PhD, has explored and verified the notion that living cells are tensegrity structures -- structures that stabilize themselves by balancing tension and compression. With this interactive feature, users can control a cell's internal structural elements to discover what tensegrity is all about and why it's important to cell function.
Introduction to Proteomics
Proteomics -- the study of protein complexity in cells, tissues and organisms -- is the hot new science that picks up where the Human Genome Project left off. With this animated, user-controlled interactive feature, find out how researchers sequence and identify proteins. You can also take a virtual tour of Children's new Proteomics Center and read about how researchers are using proteomics to better understand the human body and improve medical care.
- Watch a video clip of a tumor repelling blood vessel cells when an anti-cancer agent is introduced
- See a key part of the AIDS virus change shape, allowing it to enter a cell
- Take a retrospective look at polio 50 years after the last major epidemic -- includes archival film footage, a photo gallery, and audio clips of survivors' stories
- Explore a gallery of beautiful microscopy images that blur the line between science and art
- Learn about clinical and laboratory research throughout Children's Hospital Boston
Children's Hospital Boston
Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, nine members of the Institute of Medicine and 10 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 347-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital visit: www.childrenshospital.org.