The emphasis of the imaging facility is two-fold: imaging chemical and structural dynamics in intact developing embryos, cells, tissues, and resolving cell architecture at high spatial resolution.
In live cells and tissue imaging, a key technology is two photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM). It minimizes phototoxic effects and offers the possibility to image deep into tissues. A set of instruments using this powerful technology is available in the Imaging Facility.
We have recently developed an advanced light-sheet microscope which is even superior than two photon microscopy for long-term observation of larger, living-specimens with minimal photodomage. There is a minor trade-off of resolution for gentler imaging. Full 3D rotation and large sample coverage to depths of ~50uM are routinely achieved. Two sCMOS cameras at 180 degrees with respect to each other image the sample from both sides.
Until recently, ultra-structural studies could only be performed using Electron Microscopy (EM). In the recent years, we have seen extraordinary developments of imaging techniques that are able to break the diffraction barrier by more than an order of magnitude. Biological structure can be imaged with resolution in the tens of nanometers. A clear advantage of optical microscopy over EM is the possibility to label several targets with different identifiable labels. Our facility incorporates instruments on which the STED, PALM and STORM approaches to sub-diffraction imaging are implemented.
Other techniques of microscopic imaging and optical measurements have been implemented in the facility, and additional methods can be developed with advanced users to meet individual research requirements.
The facility includes one commercial instrument. A state-of-the-art Zeiss 880 laser-scanning confocal microscope with the Airy Scan super-resolution and high-sensitivity imaging capability.
The facility was built to offer researchers an imaging service where approaches that are difficult to implement in the context of a conventional facility can be developed. To achieve that end, our microscopes are designed for maximum flexibility and constructed from modular components for the best adaptation to specific experiments. Further, the microscopes can be booked for prolonged blocks of time (days to weeks) that are long enough to allow the microscope and peripheral equipment to be tailored to the particular measurement.