The emphasis of the imaging facility is two-fold: imaging chemical and structural dynamics in intact cells and tissue, and resolving cell architecture at high spatial resolution.
The increasing need for quantitative optical methods in biology often requires specialized instrumentation. The Imaging Core Facility was created with the idea of offering researchers at the University a set of instruments that can be tailored to their particular application as well as help in implementing the set-up the most appropriate.
The facility opened in March 2006, and now has three two-photon scanning microscopes available. The hardware and the control software for all three instruments are flexible enough to permit modifications for specific experiments. Researchers can book the instruments for extended periods of time (up to several weeks in a row if necessary).
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.
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 an instrument on which the PALM and STORM approaches to sub-diffraction imaging are implemented.
Other techniques of microscopy imaging and optical measurements have been implemented in the facility, and additional methods can be developed to meet individual research requirements.
The facility was built to offer researchers an imaging service where approaches 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.