ASIDE: What do you really want to measure?

In the last post, I covered the basics of wound-healing assays and how to quantify and visualise them. This is great, but is the ability of cells to heal an artificial wound really what you want to measure? Probably not…

What I mean by this is that, more likely, you’re looking to measure the migratory ability of cells, be it in terms of speed, or directionality which is how well they move towards (or away from) something. Same goes for cell division, if you want to measure the replicative ability of cells, wound-healing may give you a proxy for that. But why not measure that instead?

Anyway, this is just an aside, so I won’t go into the details. Needless to say, if you’re interested in migration, it’s possible to track the migrating cells in a wound healing assay, measure their speed, directionality, dwell times and a whole bunch of other things. Furthermore, as with the last post, there are some really cool visualisations that you can make by overlaying trajectories and original data:


Tracking cells in a wound-healing experiment. The trajectories are overlaid on the first frame of the movie and colour-coded based on whole-trajectory velocity from slowest in red through yellow, green and the fastest in blue


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