Upon being asked to find the number of microorganisms in a given sample, the response from members of our iGEM team has invariably been a long sigh and a plea to the realms of the supernatural.
That most human quality - laziness - alongside flaws in traditional techniques, which we will revisit below, has led to us designing a potential solution in the form of a Digital Inline Holographic Microscope (DIHM).
In particular, we discovered that, when studying co-cultures, there are precious few methods of counting cells that are accurate, fast, cheap and non-destructive.
We decided, therefore, to try to bring together two promising areas of science in this project:
Digital Holographic Microscopy and Co-Culturing.