Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Glowing in the Spotlight

Fluorescence microscopy looks ahead to a brighter future.
Fluorescence Microscopy
Carl Zeiss
Fluorescence microscopy is used applications such as live-cell imaging, bioassays, FRET, FRAP and spectral imaging.
Ash Prabala
Ash Prabala
Hubert Bauch
Hubert Bauch
Rich Crandall
Rich Crandall
Ria Hut
Ria Hut
Angela Goodacre
Angela Goodacre
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By Barry Mazor

The Participants

  • Stephen Ross, Ph.D. is Senior Scientist and Manager of Product and Technology at Nikon Instruments Inc., Melville, NY.
  • Ash Prabala is President, DVC Co., Austin, TX.
  • Dr. Hubert Bauch is Product Manager, Light Microscopy, Carl Zeiss, Goettingen, Germany.
  • Rich Crandall is Marketing Manager at Optronics / Imaging Planet, Goleta, CA.
  • Dr. Robert LaBelle is Marketing Manager, Microscopy, and Dr. Tobias Jacob, Product Support Specialist, Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy, at Leica Microsystems Inc., North America, Bannockburn, IL.
  • Ria Hut is Export Manager at Lambert Instruments, Leutingewolde, The Netherlands.
  • Angela Goodacre is Applications Specialist of the Scientific Equipment Group of Olympus America Inc., Melville, NY.

The scientific imaging market is a fast-moving field and one of its livelier segments is fluorescence microscopy, according to experts who spoke with Advanced Imaging.

Market Drivers

Advanced Imaging: What fluorescence microscopy applications, or markets, is pushing technology forward?

Stephen Ross, Nikon Instruments: There is a push in several technologies for fluorescence microscopy, focused on fast scanning, or live cell confocal systems, single-molecule fluorescence imaging facilitated by Total Internal Reflectance Fluorescence (TIRF), as well as spectral imaging. By combining the powerful tools emerging for these applications, researchers can now optically investigate dynamic events taking place at the surface of live cells, such as a receptor binding and activation, and follow the downstream event cascade 'intracellularly' with molecular resolution. When imaging at the molecular level, focus changes due to thermal drift are a major obstacle. In response, systems to eliminate focus drift have been developed.

Ash Prabala, DVC: Bioassay markets, especially those involved with concurrent, multi-analyte detection, are at the forefront. That's due to enabling technologies such as nanotechnology (including beads and chips), high-performance digital cameras and the availability of quantitative software for image analysis. Applications such as pharmaceutical drug discovery, cancer screening, proteomics, genomics and bioinformatics are requiring automated high throughput under challenging, photon-starved conditions that require scientific cameras with high sensitivity and low noise, and work with multi-disciplinary, event-driven software that optimizes the performance of all system components.

Hubert Bauch, Carl Zeiss: Many researchers are trying to unveil the functional networks that control cellular functions as diverse as cell division in a developing organism and synaptic transmission in the learning brain. Ultimately, all of this research is centered on understanding molecular interactions. To this end, researchers are using specialized GFP (green fluorescent protein) mutants in living biological systems. Along this line, experiments requiring long-term observation and acquisition of cell populations or complete tissues are gaining increased interest. These applications require highly integrated and adapted system components involving highly stable microscope stands with perfectly corrected, yet highly transmissive optics, sophisticated incubation equipment, extremely sensitive and fast detectors and elaborate software that controls both image acquisition and analysis.

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