USA, 13 June 2006: NASA image processing technology is being modified for diabetes research. Scientists at The George Washington University, Washington, and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., helped modify the technology, which has greatly increased the speed of the research. “NASA technology combined with our modifications has provided us with new tools for fighting diabetes,” said Murray Loew, director of the Biomedical Engineering Program and professor of engineering at The George Washington University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. The research is being funded by Goddard’s Part Time Graduate Study Program, NIH, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
In one research, the team analyzed electron photomicrographs (images from an electron microscope) of beta cells from rats. The original NASA technology helps scientists to classify image elements (pixels) and identify different types of landforms, geology and vegetation. In the laboratory, it’s been adapted to identify biological structures, the insulin granules, in electron photomicrographs. The research team observed the number, size, and position of insulin granules in the beta cells in response to glucose.