BIST Advanced Optical Microscopy Programme makes big strides in its second year

By February 20, 2020August 27th, 2020BIST, CRG, IBEC, ICFO, IRB Barcelona

The BIST Advanced Optical Microscopy Programme (AOM@BIST) was launched two years ago with the aim of building collaborative activities within the BIST centres to maintain our leading position in this field.

The joint effort of BIST and the participating BIST centres has already allowed for the implementation of several collaborative projects targeted at sharing know-how and expertise among their researchers and technicians working in this strategic area.

The centres currently representing the AOM@BIST are: CRG, IBEC, ICFO, and IRB BarcelonaThese centres have the most complete and cutting-edge portfolio of advanced optical microscopy techniques in Catalonia and in Spain, with world-class facilities highly competitive at the international level. Their range of imaging technologies spans from single molecule imaging in living cells, various types of super-resolution microscopes, light sheet microscopy, and optical tomography for 3D-full organ imaging to multi-photon approaches for in-vivo imaging of small organisms. A unique added value of the BIST centres is that they combine basic research in optical imaging technology with new concepts for probe development and novel image analysis strategies, all targeted to potential users and scientific collaborations within the life sciences community.

Advanced Optical Microscopy at BIST

More information about the AOM research done at the BIST centres can be found through the below links:

Advanced Digital Microscopy at IRB Barcelona
Super-resolution light nanoscopy facility at ICFO
Advanced Light Microscopy Unit at CRG
Albertazzi’s Group at IBEC
Garcia-Parajo’s Group at ICFO

Within the AOM@BIST programme, we are currently implementing a common virtual space for sharing protocols for sample preparation, which will be used by researchers of the different BIST centres as well as external collaborators. We have also organized different courses and seminars at the different BIST centres, as well as two different mini-retreats (one in autumn 2017 and a second one in autumn 2018 with over 30 participants each) to exchange experiences, share new developments in the field and elaborate on a common plan of actions with the AOM@BIST programme. Finally, we conduct regular exchange visits of the facility personnel to the different facilities (CRG, ICFO and IRB) in order to share ongoing activities, know-how on specific techniques and associated sample preparation protocols and developments first hand. These visits have led to the establishment of most of the collaborations that we now have.

In addition, BIST recently established a number of transversal collaborative research and development projects within the BIST centres to facilitate and increase the collaboration within BIST research groups and to capitalize on their know-how and complementarity. One of the projects focusses on the design of an excitation-multiplexed, multicolor imaging capable of single molecule imaging in living cells to super-resolution microscopy; and a second project aimed by generating high-content 3D Live imaging: oblique illumination platform for 0.05-0.5mm organoid samples.

As part of our involvement with science and education, BIST and the participating BIST centres also co-organize the annual Winter School in Advanced Microscopy, part of the BIST-UPF Master of Multidisciplinary Research in Experimental Sciences. This two-week school includes lectures and seminars about theory, as well as hands-on training in specific experimental techniques at the AOM facilities of the participating BIST centres. This cutting edge training prepares young researchers for the multidisciplinary techniques that are vital in scientific research today and in the future.

The BIST Advanced Optical Microscopy Programme is now heading into its third year with more projects and collaborations on the horizon.


More about advanced optical microscopy at BIST

Optical microscopy has become an indispensable tool in the life sciences. The development and application of different forms of optical microscopy, and in particular of fluorescence, is progressing rapidly and in a truly interdisciplinary fashion. Progress on multiple technological fronts are currently allowing researchers to interrogate biological systems across multiple spatial and temporal scales, from the molecular level to visualization of cellular dynamics in whole organisms during development. Imaging technologies are therefore core disciplines of tomorrow’s biology and medicine, and represent essential new research infrastructures for the life sciences.

The instruments currently used at the BIST centres that work in microscopy include world-class competitive equipment include commercial systems, mostly placed in dedicated imaging facilities at the BIST centres, as well as custom-made set-ups being developed by research groups and/or within the facilities. The facilities provide dedicated space and equipment for sample preparation and maintenance prior to imaging and resources for subsequent image processing and analysis.