Martin Burke Laboratory
Funded by the HHMI and NIH
The swirling tornado seen in this image was created by the movement of mucus in the human lung, tracked by fluorescent microbeads. Researchers are using the beads to study the movement of cilia, tendril-like structures used by cells to create movement; in this case, cillia clear mucus from the airways. In the disease cystic fibrosis, these cilia are impeded by thick mucus and cannot move effectively. This experiment is a way to study potential treatments that might restore normal lung function in cystic fibrosis patients.