AsianScientist (June 22, 2011) – For decades, scientists have been studying how cells migrate, investigating the biological mechanisms involved. Now, laboratories worldwide have been invited to send their speediest cells to compete in the first ever World Cell Race.
The World Cell Race, which is supported by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), will answer the question of which is the world’s fastest cell line: the Usain Bolt of the cell world.
However, the race is not organized just for fun: the organizers hope that the race will allow researchers from around the world to compare their models, discuss their hypotheses, and exchange insights into cell migration mechanisms. It is expected that the race itself will reveal new information on the different biophysical behavior of cell lines and allow comparison of migration speeds of all these different cells.
Laboratories are encouraged to send in unusual cell types, and cells that have been genetically modified to migrate faster in the course of research are welcome to participate. However, measurements on popular cell lines like HeLa and NIH3T3 will only be done once.
Each laboratory is only allowed one cell line entry into the race, with a maximum of 30 cell line participants at each of the six “running sites” located in five countries worldwide: the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium, Singapore; Institut Curie, France; Heidelberg University, Germany; King’s College London, UK; Harvard Medical School, USA; and University of California, San Francisco, USA.
Laboratories interested in participating must register online and send in a frozen vial of their chosen cell line to a running site by 30th June 2011.
The race will be run on microfabricated tracks paved with fibronectin, a component of extracellular matrix, mimicking cell migration conditions in living tissues. The cells will be tracked using a Nikon imaging system that will take a picture of the cells every 10 minutes. The time taken for the fastest cell from each cell line to cover a distance of 100 micrometers will be recorded as the speed of the cell line. More details on the race can be found at the official website.
The videos taken will be screened during a special session of the annual meeting of the ASCB in December this year where prizes sponsored by Nikon will also be awarded to the researchers who sent in the winning cells.
Source: World Cell Race.
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