One of the major advantages of having environmental control on our microscopes at the CCI, is that you can get cells to behave a little more like they do in an animal or plant. A great example of this is when looking at cardiomyocytes that can spontaneously start to contract when grown in culture. You can see a load of these on YouTube.
These types of culture are a great model with which to study the effect of drugs or other treatments on the cells of the heart. This post will look at one way to quantify contractile motion without the need for exogenous stains or dyes (which can themselves perturb physiological behaviour).