User Testimonials

“You don’t have to kill them to see how they live.” Federico Faggin, inventor of the microprocessor

Joseph T. Rodgers

Assistant Professor, Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, The Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, USA

The Nanolive 3D Cell Explorer is a powerful tool to measure morphologic and functional features of live stem cells.

 Our laboratory uses primary mouse and human skeletal muscle stem cells (MuSCs), also known as satellite cells, to study the mechanisms that regulate the injury-induced transition of stem cells from quiescent state into the cell cycle. This transition requires many days to complete. MuSCs are a model that allows us to study this transition ex vivo, immediately following FACS-mediated purification from muscle tissue. We have used the Nanolive 3D Explorer to visualize this process in never before seen detail.

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The accompanying video is of primary MuSCs isolated from a juvenile mouse (5-week-old). The video begins two hours after FACS isolation, each frame is 5 minutes at a frame rate of 18 frames/sec. 

MuSCs undergo profound changes in size, shape, and function during activation. In the first 24 hours after activation, there is a ~600% increase in cell volume and ~1,000% increase in metabolic activity prior to entering the cell cycle. MuSCs from juvenile mice require 35-40 hours to complete cytokinesis following activation. The kinetics of MuSC activation slow dramatically with age. MuSCs from an adult mouse require twice the amount of time to complete activation as MuSCs from juvenile mice. MuSCs from old mice require 3-4 times longer.

We use the Nanolive 3D Cell Explorer to perform high-resolution analysis of the morphologic and cell biologic features of MuSC activation. These data are producing new insights into the cellular processes involved in activation and mechanisms that underlie age-associated defects in MuSC activation.”

Shukry J. Habib, PhD

Principal Investigator, Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine King¹s College London, London, UK

“This is an excellent technology that allow us to visualise cellular compartments and their rapid dynamics live without the need for staining/ florescence. In combination with advances in segmentation, it will open the door for unprecedented quantitative biology at high temporal resolution.”

Dr. Shukry J. Habib

Yasmine Abouleila and Ahmed Ali, PhD students

Research Associates, RIKEN Research Institute, Osaka, Japan

“It is amazing to be able to directly visualize the cell in its natural media, without labeling and in 3D. This allowed us to monitor the cell in 3D while sampling part of the cytoplasm and analyzing it using mass spectrometry, thus achieving quantitation on a subcellular space, possibly the first in the world to do so.

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In our lab, we are mainly concerned with understanding biology on a single cell level in a quantitative manner. The 3D Cell Explorer allows us to directly visualize the cell in 3D without labeling and with no sample treatment.

Using this technology we were able to be the first in the world to quantitate a biological molecule in subcellular space. By imaging a cell in 3D in less than 1.5 seconds, then taking another 3D image after sampling part of the cell with our proprietary method. By comparing the difference of the 3D image, we could measure the volume sampled in different compartments of the cell such as cytoplasm.”

Oliver Nayler, PhD

Head, Cardiovascular & Fibrosis Biology, Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Allschwil, Switzerland

“Actelion researchers were among the first to explore the potential of the Nanolive 3D Cell Explorer in cell biological applications within the pharmaceutical industry. We were very happy that the system is so easy to set-up (plug-and-play) and we are still amazed by the beautiful images it generates.

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 We mainly use the Cell Explorer to perform real time image acquisition and we follow compound activity in different cellular backgrounds. In a very short period of time, the 3D Cell Explorer has become very intensively used and we have found applications in several different disease areas – we would not want to be without this instrument.”

Alain Geloen, PhD

CNRS Research Director, member of CarMeN Laboratory, Lyon, France

” […] It is like a window opened on a new world.”  […] “What you did is fantastic. Your microscope is a great achievement. […] You bring a new way to see and to analyze cells. […] You give us the opportunity to read nature with an other physical quantity: the density.

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When I work with your microscope I keep correcting myself, this is not optic [what I see] it is density. In matter of regulations, density is more important than optic. That is why I say we must restudy all the cell biology, not looking at the optic but through the density. I am fully convinced that this is the beginning of a new era in biology. […]

Clemens Grassberger, PhD

Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School & Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA

“The 3D Cell Explorer enables us to study chromatin condensation and nanoparticle uptake in live cancer cells, which wouldn’t be possible with other methods. 

We are extending this work now to different cancer cell lines to explain variations seen in response to therapy.”

Wojtek Chrzanowski, MSc, PhD, DSc

Senior LecturerFaculty of Pharmacy and the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at the University of Sydney, Australia

“It is absolutely fantastic! Its ease of operation, intuitive nature, compact size, rapid imaging and no need for stains make this a system I would certainly recommend and it would certainly support many different kinds of research. In fact, this system would be valuable for secondary students studying biology too.”

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Read the full story from Dr. Chrzanowski here!

David Grunwald, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
UMASS Medical School (USA)

“I wanted to take holograms of cells since my early undergrad, not just cells, but LIVING cells. Why holograms, well simply because in semi-transparent cells light should be able to do more than ‘just’ Phase Contrast or DIC. In principle, it should be able to directly report on the refractive index of sub-cellular components!

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 Well and that we could use to report on metabolism, physiology, reaction to environmental change, stress… just think about it! 

After years of reading either the early literature from the 1880’s onward or screening through PhD thesis works of current days it happens in December 2014: Philadelphia, the last corner of the exhibition hall during the ASCB annual meeting I run into a small booth and cannot understand why none of my lab members, but only a few of the biophysicists at the meeting are gathering here: a small machine taking holographic images of cells! Not from one of the major companies, but a solid small device that boils it down to the essential.

Now, it does not (maybe yet) do fluorescence but the journey has begun! Watch the evolution of a technology that will change the way you think about how cells work …”

Sheila Smiley

Research Technician, Dr. Bryan Lo Lab, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada

“We’re very excited to have the 3D Cell Explorer in Ottawa! The instrument was extremely easy to set up; we plugged it in and started taking pictures immediately. I’m impressed with the amazing image resolution and the short acquisition time.

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 We’re getting high quality images of many different cell types and samples – from live human and mouse cell lines in a culture dish to fixed cells mounted on a slide. We’re looking forward to testing the limits of the microscope and starting to do live cell imaging.”

Manuel Fankhauser, PhD

Biologist at the EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

“As a biologist, looking at cell morphology is a key requirement to perform meaningful experiments. To look at a cell in 3D, both from inside and from outside, this would greatly enhance our ability to perform successful experiments.”

Education Testimonials

Mireille Donadini, Biology Teacher

Gymnase de Provance, Lausanne, Switzerland – one of the first schools in Switzerland to have worked with the 3D Cell Explorer for Education

“It’s innovative, so we need to be creative. Since the approach is new, we need to develop new activities. We will work on new research questions for the final papers of the students. Everything is new and left to discover.”

Christophe Gudin, General Director

 Institute Le Rosey, Boarding school in Rolle, Switzerland

“Teaching sciences is often tricky as so much of what we learn can’t be perceived by the naked eye. After trying Nanolive’s microscope, biology teachers at Le Rosey could use live images to show the theory that they were discussing; students also had the chance learn how to use state-of-the-art scientific research equipment. Having our own microscope will now allow this throughout the year.”


Babett Cevirgen 

DP Biology, DP Chemistry and TOK Teacher, International School Rheintal, Buchs, Switzerland

“Lisa and Kulsum from Nanolive had prepared an exceptional 2 hour practical. Not only did they bring along the spectacular 3D Cell Explorer, but also onion and garlic specimens and a fantastic student packet, which they guided our students to complete during our session in a very professional, enthusiastic and fun manner. All students from Grades 11 and 12 had the opportunity to explore living cells using a 3D microscope.

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They then could further enhance these images using advanced software: measure cell size, color bacteria and calculate cell volume. Imaging technology is a component of all 3 IB DP Science courses, and teachers and students alike have been impressed by and worked enthusiastically with the provided materials. It was really ​refreshing ​to ​see ​how ​competent ​our ​students ​were while carrying ​out ​real ​scientific ​work. Many have asked follow up questions, and some expressed an interest in the field of cell Biology for their future careers. We highly recommend the workshops provided by Nanolive, and thank Lisa and Kulsum for making this unforgettable experience possible!”

Rachel Stott

Biology Teacher, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, USA

“I can say that both our regular and our research teachers are very excited about the 3D Cell Explorer. We expect to be able to use it in both our regular classrooms and our research program. I also showed it to our physics teachers. I have been showing your website to our research seniors. Most of them will be going on to prestigious U.S. universities and joining research labs there.  I have told them to spread the word at their universities about your products.”


Angela Armendariz

Living Systems Facility Manager, The Exploratorium, San Francisco, USA

“Nanolive was super great to work with. In preparation for our rental they spent a lot of time trying to understand our needs, and working out a rental agreement that worked for both of us. They skyped and emailed with me throughout the rental period to address all of my questions. One of their software developers even worked on a problem late at night (they’re in Switzerland, 8 hours ahead of us) to help me out. Thanks so much!”


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