Each cell has a nucleus filled with chromatin, which is the combination of the genetic information, the DNA, and the proteins that regulate it. Depending on the cell function, the chromatin can organize in the 3D space in an open conformation, as it was a net of disorganized cables or in a compacted one, as egg clutches. The project's research data obtained from super resolution imaging identified that cells that are fully differentiated into a specific cell type such as skin cells show a very compacted chromatin whereas cells less differentiated like stem cells show an open structure.
The project foresees to identify the egg clutch-based structure also in cancer stem cells.
Since the Hermes SR microscope can allow the project to obtain large amount of data, they will be using a machine learning approach to identify features associated to cancer cells and thus, be able to pinpoint cancer cells and cancer stem cells. In this way, the Hermes SR will be used as a novel imaging diagnostic tool to detect, study and characterize cancer samples.