Roger's Equations Blog

Roger's Equations

This blog is all about science and technology (with occasional math thrown in for fun). The goal of this blog is to try and pass on the sense of excitement and wonder I feel when I read about these topics. I hope you enjoy the posts.

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High Resolution, High Speed Microscope

Posted December 02, 2015 8:47 AM by Bayes

"I see" (Colloquial Expression for "I Understand")

Ideally it shouldn't work this way, but humans tend to understand things better when they can see them. The problem with the frontiers of science is they often involve very large objects very far away or very small objects at very fast speeds. To assist scientists in their quest of better understanding the world we live in, imaging technology is constantly being developed to enhance what we can see.

I recently came across an article that seems to demonstrate this dramatically. A new high resolution, high speed microscope has been developed that allows scientists to view very small animals, such as the Drosophila (Fruit Fly) Larva. Definitely check out the video in the article (Found Here) it's pretty cool.

Here is the article:

New microscope helps scientists see the big picture

A new microscope developed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus is giving scientists a clearer, more comprehensive view of biological processes as they unfold in living animals. The microscope produces images of entire organisms, such as a zebrafish or fruit fly embryo, with enough resolution in all three dimensions that each cell appears as a distinct structure. What's more, it does so at speeds fast enough to watch cells move as a developing embryo takes shape and to monitor brain activity as it flashes through neuronal circuits. Nearly two years in development, Janelia group leader Philipp Keller says his team has built the first light microscope capable of imaging large, non-transparent specimens at sub-second temporal resolution and sub-cellular spatial resolution in all dimensions.

Keller, and his team at Janelia aim to understand how a functioning nervous system emerges in an embryo. Over the last five years, they have devised several imaging technologies that make it possible to image large biological samples at high speed. His lab's newest microscope, called the IsoView light sheet microscope, overcomes a final challenge--improving spatial resolution--without sacrificing the performance features of his team's previous microscopes. The IsoView microscope is described in an article published online on October 26, 2015, in the journal Nature Methods. The publication includes complete building plans for the microscope and the associated image processing software developed by Keller's team.

In 2012, Keller's team developed the SiMView microscope, which provides fast three-dimensional imaging of large specimens. His lab has used the technology to follow cells for days as they move and divide throughout entire living embryos, and to watch individual neurons fire throughout an entire central nervous system. Still, structures inside cells seemed blurred together, and cells deep inside a sample could not be seen well at all. "We had decent microscopes for the type of imaging that we do--rapid imaging of cellular dynamics in large, living specimens. The temporal resolution matched the timescales of the processes we're looking at, and we had microscopes that could give us good coverage and allow us to image for a long time without perturbing the system," Keller says. "But we hadn't really tried to push spatial resolution much in our microscopes to date."

Scientists have found ways around this problem, and several new imaging technologies produce astonishingly detailed three-dimensional images. But none of those technologies combines high spatial resolution with the other features that Keller needed for his experiments. "We were trying to address this key problem in a way that does not cost us in any of the other categories that we care about. We need high resolution in all three dimensions without compromising coverage or speed."

Article Continues here


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