Etch A Cell

Etch A Cell - Fat Checker: Trace Fat Lipids to Advance Breast Cancer Research

By orbithunter | Orbit's Journal | 6 Apr 2022

What is Etch-A-Cell

Etch-A-Cell is a Zooniverse citizen science project which aims to determine the number, size, and location of lipid droplets in cells, and to map its relationship to other parts of the cell. In this project, volunteers are asked to identify lipid droplets in breast cancer cells. The data obtained from the volunteers of the project will be used to train an AI program to recognize and render the three-dimensional architecture of lipid droplets in cells. 

How the Project Works?


Throughout the project, volunteers will be shown cross section images  of cells taken through a special electron microscope. The image will be similar to the one shown above[1]. Volunteers will be asked to identify the fat droplets and trace them on the given image. On the image above, they are marked in orange lines [2]. There are a couple of these images to be traced so it needs a lot of volunteers. The data derived from this project will be used to generate a 3D model of the fat lipids together with other cell components. these models will help researchers make new discoveries. The 3D model that will be generated is similar to the image given above [3].

If you are interested to help as a volunteer for the project, you can check the project here. Click Here

This project is just one of the multiple projects produced by the Etch A Cell team and their collaborators. They are based at the Francis Crick Institute in London, UK. They work with many other researchers to study different aspects of biology using cutting-edge Electron Microscopes. The high definition images derived from these electron microscopes can be sued to provide us a better understanding of biology, and later on help us understand the biological changes associated with health and disease.


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