Tips and Tricks for Live Cell Imaging from the Experts

ZEISS on Your Campus microscopy workshop series is visiting the UK in 2017


ZEISS Microscopy recently kicked off its Life Science Imaging Workshops for the UK, giving microscope users the chance to redefine how they use the latest technology from ZEISS. The day consisted of short but focused talks and hands-on interactive workshops. The sessions provided an overview of the new ZEISS Celldiscoverer 7, Fast Mode for LSM 880 with Airyscan, the recently updated Axio Observer family of inverted research microscopes, and electron microscopy for life sciences with ZEISS Atlas 5. ZEISS experts were on-hand to discuss how the systems can be used to their full potential and demonstrated correlative 3D microscopy solutions from light toelectron/ion and X-ray microscopy.

A range of ZEISS application experts from the UK and Germany hosted the sessions, each bringing with them their own expertise and personal experience within the field of life science imaging. The first talk, Optimising Florescence Imaging for Biology, gave many helpful tips and tricks on how to keep an experiment in ideal conditions so that the sample is preserved and provides the best data possible. Another key theme was exploring how as experiments get more sophisticated, the imaging technology also needs to become more advanced and more supportive to the experiment. Guosua Wong, from Queen Mary University stated, “It was interesting that ZEISS gave an explanation on the tools at hand, in such an in depth way”.

Next it was time to turn the attention onto revealing the breakthroughs in Automated Microscopy for Life Sciences. The applications specialist explained how changes, like automatic sample loading, automatic barcode reading and automatic plate detection allow ZEISS Celldiscoverer 7 to find the samples and optimise the objective settings, which allows the user to improve productivity and image quality. ZEISS Celldiscoverer 7 comes with various incubation and detection options that can be tailored to the individual experimental requirements. The system also combines user-friendly automation features of a boxed microscope whilst achieving fantastic image quality and greater flexibility compared to classical inverted research microscopes. In contrast to other boxed microscopes with more limited flexibility, ZEISS Celldiscoverer 7 can be adapted to perform a whole range of tasks and applications. Features include unparalleled sensitivity, ideal image quality, high throughput, an adaptive Lens guard, adaptive label free imaging, reliable long term time-lapse experiments and optimized imaging conditions. Matthew, a researcher from UCL commented that, “Small changes in machinery like this can go a long way in daily life of a scientist, my attention can now be solely on the quality of the experiment.”

The next talk covered the latest developments for scientists who need fast and sensitive super resolution imaging. For confocal imaging we know how important it is to keep the experiment fast and gentle in order to preserve the sample. With the trade-off between speed and sensitivity no longer an issue due to the introduction of Fast Mode for ZEISS LSM 880 with Airyscan, the talk considered the importance of flexibility, spectral separation, scan time efficiency and sensitivity. The design of ZEISS LSM 880 also makes it possible to collect more light whilst also dramatically enhancing the resolution.

Towards the end of the morning, visitors dived into a talk about 3D Ultrastructural Imaging where the ZEISS specialist demonstrated that correlative microscopy is a beautiful answer to an interesting challenge as it enables finding and following structures over time and allows them to develop, whilst still preserving structural settings. ZEISS believes in pushing boundaries by correlating information over the full portfolio to enable multi-dimensional research. Challenges were discussed when using common super-resolution approaches as these can often be destructive to fluorescence due to the high laser powers needed to carry out the experiment, and the ultrastructure can also be influenced due to phototoxic effects. In contrast Airyscan facilitates imaging with low laser powers but at high resolution, thus maintaining fluorescence and ultrastructure and allowing for comparable resolutions on tissue sections. The areas of interest identified using Airyscan imaging can then be relocated on a ZEISS scanning electron microscope and the ultrastructure then further investigated.

After lunch it was then time to get hands-on with the equipment in smaller break-out sessions, allowing visitors to put the tips and tricks they had learnt during the morning sessions into practice. The four workshops focussed on Fast Super Resolution Imaging using LSM 880 with Airyscan, Automated Microscopy with Celldiscoverer 7, developments of the new Axio Observer and Multi-Modal/Multi-Scale image correlation using Atlas 5. After the break-out sessions, those who had pre booked were then invited to have individual imaging consultations with  ZEISS application experts, with all the information from the day fresh in their minds.

Our ZEISS Life Science Imaging Workshops will be running across the UK in locations such as Oxford, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Dublin. Places for each workshop are limited so we encourage early booking to avoid disappointment. Any microscope user is welcome and of course any interesting samples you wish to bring along!

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Tags: Airyscan, Confocal Microscopy, Light Microscopy, Light sheet Microscopy, Software & Digital Imaging

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