Astrocyte Isolations in Eighteen Seconds

Movie by Beatriz Torres, PhD student in the Olsen LabTwitter: @beatriztc__


Magnetic cell sorting is one of the many techniques employed in the Olsen Lab. In order to learn more about astrocytes at a cell and molecular level, without the noise of other brain cells and mechanisms, we use magnetic cell sorting to isolate pure astrocyte populations. We can then use the astrocytes we collect to grow primary cultures, examine their RNA via RNA sequencing, and more.

What is fascinating about this technique is that it utilizes antibodies to recognize specific epitopes that are unique to our cells of interest, and these antibodies are conjugated to tiny magnetic beads. We are able to collect our cells of interest by essentially trapping them through magnetism! Cells are able to retain their beautiful morphology because the technique is pretty gentle on the cells. While the entire process takes 2.5-3 hours, here we can appreciate it in 18 seconds! 

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