Symposium Glimpse: New Frontiers in Optical Microscopy

Written by Sias Jordaan

October 2, 2014

As a special edition of our Neuroscience Tech Update, we’d like to occasionally share a short summary of interesting technical symposia and conference talks with our readers.

King’s College London recently hosted a Crick symposium on the topic “New Frontiers in Optical Microscopy”. Dr. Craig Blomeley, from the NIMR Mill Hill , attended the symposium and offered to stand in as a guest blogger with a short summary of the highlights during the meeting.

The Francis Crick Institute is a consortium of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations – the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London.

Over to Craig:

SYMPOSIUM OVERVIEW

The aim of this Crick Symposium was to showcase the novel microscopy development projects currently ongoing within The Crick and its university partners and to promote future collaborations between physicists, cell and developmental biologists.

The Symposium was separated into two main themes: microscopy development and biological applications of new microscopy techniques. Newest developments included: oblique plane microscopy (OPM), localisation microscopy and high speed 3D 2-photon microscopy (). Applications of these techniques in the biological sciences continue to grow and the Neurosciences in particular constitute one of the most fertile and challenging grounds for progress on. In addition, through using new methodologies, advances are also being made in unraveling the intricacies of brain organization and connectomics.

HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE NEUROSCIENTIST

The biological applications of these powerful imaging techniques ranged from the single molecule level to the whole brain. Neuroscience highlights included Juan Burrone‘s talk on homeostatic plasticity at the synapse and axon initial segment (AIS) using a combination of state-of-the-art micro LEDs to optogenetically stimulate neuronal dendrites and axons together with high speed 2-photon microscopy. Another exciting talk was from Troy Margrie, whose group is developing a novel way of automating the collection of connectivity maps throughout the whole-brain. They use serial two-photon tomography (STP tomography) with an integrated vibratome-based sectioning, which allows the collection of the cut tissue for further analysis by, for example, immunohistochemistry. In addition, by fixing the brain tissue in formaldehyde and embedding in agar, minimal detrimental effects on fluorescence and brain morphology is observed. This makes STP tomography applicable to a broad range of neuroanatomical projects utilizing genetically encoded fluorescent protein-based tracers, which are sensitive to fixation, dehydration and tissue clearing conditions.”

We’d like to share more of these short summaries – please give us feedback about what kind of format would be most useful, and let us know about upcoming events. Make sure you don’t miss a Neuroscience Tech Update blog post by subscribing here.

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