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  A. A Robotic Microscope Helps Scientists Track Cells Over Time

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new robotic microscope is helping researchers track cells over time - and without all the tedious counting and analyzing. Dr. Steven Finkbeiner, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco's Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, invented the robotic microscope.

Finkbeiner: The microscope can do what it took us six to eight weeks to do in about twelve minutes now…so that's one major advantage, is that it's faster and no one has to sit there for eight hours day after day, doing some of these counting measurements.

Narrator: Equipped with fast and precise motors - the microscope can zero in on and photograph specific cellular reference points, as the images automatically appear on a computer screen for analysis. Finkbeiner is currently using this technology to study neurons in Huntington's Disease.

Finkbeiner: The remarkable thing is now we can follow these little individual neurons through time and that enables us to figure out what things change first in neurons that lead to a particular outcome, so we can begin to understand what factors are actually prognostic.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.