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 (September 2023)

Here’s what’s new in the CALM STP:

Hey Ho, Lets Go!

We have added 2 new spinning disk confocals since last year, bringing the total in the facility to 3. Unlike our old system, both new systems are equipped for super-resolution. One system is based on an Olympus stand and runs CellSense whereas the other system is based on a Nikon stand and runs Elements. Spinning disk microscopy (as I'm sure you all know) is generally more gentle for live imaging than point-scanning microscopy. It also offers better sample penetration although not quite as good as lightsheet microscopy. To make space for both the new systems in room LM4, the old system has been moved down the hall into room SW3-2695.

We have added a new slide-scanner (an Olympus VS-200) and have begun to offer slide-scanning as a service. The system does conventional H&E and fluorescence, meaning it can also be used for basic immuno-fluorescence imaging. Data from the slide-scanner can be automatically imported into the Crick's OMERO database, which has a viewer with useful tools for pathology.

We had a few comments in the recent STP survey about delays in getting trained, so here's some info on how the process works. Last year we introduced a new approach to manage training. Requests, made via email, PPMS, or in person generate a Trello card on our Training board. Our team meets Mondays after lunch to triage the requests and assign them to the right member of staff. The initial request will often require further discussion with the trainee to decide which instrument is best. We strongly prefer to train people with their real samples so they can start using the microscope right away. This avoids people getting trained, then waiting so long for their samples to be ready that they need re-training. Waiting for the availability of a real sample is often the step which takes longest in the training process. Last year we ran 412 training sessions, which involves much more staff time than just the 1:1 session on the microscope. Because of the numbers involved, the final barrier to getting trained is often staff availability.

Registration is open for the next Crick BioImage Analysis Symposium (CBIAS):

which will be held November 20-21. The symposium will bring together life scientists and leading developers of bioimage analysis methods to illustrate how such approaches can answer defined biological questions. Last year's event sold out, so register early if you want to guarantee your place.

Confocal microscope quality control: Harrison has left the confocal QC role to do an MSc in Medical Physics (sad for us, good for him). We have hired Lotanna Amazu to take over from Harrison. Lotanna will start in October, and should be trained up to resume testing confocal microscopes in November. Please bear with us during this interim period if some microscopes are a little messier than usual.

Congratulations to Cami, who is off on maternity leave until June 2024. Cami covers quite a few duties, including spatial transcriptomics, lightsheet, HREM, slide-scanning, and confocal microscopy, all of which have been shared out among the team for the time being. We hope to recruit maternity cover soon.

In the mean time, you may notice a new face sitting in Cami's spot. Vanessa Dao is a 2nd year MPhys sandwich student joining us from Bath University. Vanessa is working with Dave Barry on image processing pipelines for large, multi-dimensional data sets, especially using HPC tools. Ask Vanessa about astrophysics!

Equipment and Fees: After many requests, we have added a new CALM webpage


listing our equipment fees.

Project work: We have recently begun offering more in-depth staff support for imaging and (especially) analysis projects. This has allowed us to bring down the hourly rates for general general microscope use. This approach is kind of an experiment for the STP, and we welcome your feedback.

Looking ahead... we will organise another round of light microscopy lectures beginning January 19th of 2024.  The weekly series of talks will cover a wide range of topics, including: Introduction to Optics and Flourescence, Optical sectioning, Confocal and MP microscopy, How to design and implement an immunofluorescence experiment (together with Histopathology STP), Super-resolution microscopy, Lightsheet microscopy and friends, Image Analysis, and (LBNL) Data Management. These talks are a great opportunity to get into the details of light microscopy, especially for new students.



Dr. Kurt I. Anderson

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

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