Light Microscopy : Latest news

News and updates about Crick Advanced Light Microscopy STP
Images produced by the light microscopy team at The Crick.

Latest news

Here’s what’s new in the CALM STP:

COVID-19: CALM staff are primarily working in the building now, with some continued, selective, working from home. Some things, like remote training, are likely to continue as the new normal because we’ve found they work better. Social distancing rules are no longer in operation in the facility, in line with recent rule relaxations at the Crick.

BIG CHANGES: We have a number of new systems arriving and old systems retiring before the end of the year. Retiring systems include the  Zeiss Invert 710 (CB2) and the Leica MPSP5 Upright (BS3). They will be replaced by an inverted Olympus CSU-W1 SoRa (super-resolution) spinning disk and an upright LSM 980 MP confocal microscope. The new 980 will simply occupy the place of the SP5 in BS3, but the SoRa system is too big to fit in CB2. So we have to play musical microscopes (like musical chairs, but with laser safety issues) by relocating our existing Nikon CSU-W1 spinning disk from LM4 into CB2 so the SoRa system can be installed in LM4. When the SoRa arrives, we intend to run that system at 37°C for live cell imaging and keep the existing Nikon spinning disk at room temperature for fish and flies. If that’s not enough to confuse the hell out of you, our Olympus IX83 system in LM1 will be incorporated into the new spinning disk in CB2 (because we had to save money to make the budget fit). There’s a lot going on here, so please talk to us if you have any concerns or questions.

Organoids and Spheroids: We are exploring options for 3D imaging of thicker samples like organoids, spheroids, and maybe early mouse embryos. Alessandro has had great results on the MuVi (lightsheet) with such samples, but throughput is low. This seems to be a bottle-neck for some experiments, so we are exploring options to address the issue. One possibility is to build an Oblique Plane Microscope (OPM) together with Chris Dunsby’s group. A big advantage of this approach would be the use of glass-bottom 96-well plates. Alternatives are the Luxendo TruLive3D and Viventis LS1 lightsheet systems. These can probably image slightly thicker samples, but rely on the use of specially fabricated chambers which can only image 4 - 6 samples at a time. We also had a quick look at the Zeiss Lattice Lighsheet 7, which can do multi-well plates but seems optimised for cells in culture. We are lining up demos in October and November, please see Camille if you would like more information.

Microscopy Training: The next round of microscopy training seminars will begin on Wednesday, October 13th, and run weekly through December 1st. This year we’re excited to add a new joint seminar with Mary Green from Experimental Histopathology on designing and imaging immunofluroescence experiments. Mary will discuss how to stain and Cami will discuss how to image your samples. All lectures are hybrid events, with coffee and pastries for people who show up in person. More information is available on the intranet for Crick internal users, and external users can find out more by emailing

  • 13 Oct   Light Theory and Wide-field Imaging (Kurt Anderson) - 10-11:30, Seminar room 6.
  • 20 Oct   Optical sectioning - so much more than Confocal (Donald Bell) - 10-11:30, Seminar room 6.
  • 27 Oct   1P, 2P, or 3P? Confocal and Multiphoton Microscopy (Rocco D’Antuono) - 10-11:30, Seminar room 6.
  •  3 Nov   How to design and image an Immunofluorescence Experiment (Mary Green and Camille Charoy) - 10-11:30, Seminar room 6.
  • 17 Nov  Want more? Super Resolution Microscopy (Deborah Aubyn and Matt Renshaw) - 14:00-15:30, Meeting room 4.
  • 24 Nov Volume Imaging with Lightsheet Microscopy and friends (Alessandro Ciccarelli and Fabrice Prin) - 10-11:30, Seminar room 6.
  •  1 Dec  How to Manage your Digital Image Data (Ken Ho) - 10-11:30, Seminar room 6.

Image Analysis Symposia: We have an embarrassment of riches with two image analysis symposia on the horizon: On November 8th and 9th we’ll host the AI-Powered Drug Discovery Symposium which is co-sponsored by the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS). Then we have the 2nd annual Crick BioImage Analysis Symposium (CBIAS), organised by Dave, Martin, and Todd, on November 22nd and 23rd. Registration is live now for both events.

Optical Tweezers: We recently installed a Lumics C-trap G2 optical tweezers in LB4-1485 (aka Imaging Room 3). Its a dual-trap system with a laser-scanning confocal microscope for imaging sample fluorescence. The system was validated by Ondrej Belan from the Boulton Lab, who performed DNA stretching experiments which yielded the expected force distance curves associated with helix melting. We will be scheduling some training sessions on October and/or November. Contact Kurt for details.

OMERO: Our OMERO server is now managing about 10 TB of data. Labs are using it for routine storage and to facilitate access to large data sets for external collaborators. A lot of people are finding it useful for histology data (we have a package for this called PathViewer). Please see Ken for more information, or to arrange an introduction for you or your lab.

Confocal Quality Control: Alex Palmer has left to pursue an MSc in Nuclear Imaging at Imperial College (Go Alex!). Until we are able to fill her position, confocal QC will be shared among the team. Please bear with us if everything is not quite as ship-shape as when Alex was in charge. Unfortunately we had a dismal response when we advertised her job in July. But we have tweaked the text to try again in October.

Brainsaw: The Brainsaw (photo below) is up and running! The system can image whole mouse organs (not just brains…) at cellular resolution. Dan has now trained a couple of people to use the system independently. It kicks out terabytes of data and we are working with Ken to automate the flow of reconstructed volumes into OMERO. We are lining up Adam Tyson and Rob Campbell from SWC to speak at the Advanced Imaging and Analysis Forum this fall. See Dan for more details about this system.

Dr. Kurt I. Anderson

CALM Head - Crick Advanced Light Microscopy Facility
The Francis Crick Institute
1 Midland Road

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