De Picciotto-Lesser Cell Observatory Report July 2018

1 Jul 2018

The Picciotto-Lesser Cancer Cell Observatory

The Cell Observatory has been pursuing infrastructure acquisitions that will represent a significant improvement to our technical capabilities, and will allow us to provide more effective support for the imaging projects needed by the Weizmann Institute’s research groups.

A new sample preparation system for automated sample clearing was purchased – SmartClear II Pro from Lifecanvas Technologies. The system renders large biological samples—like whole animal organs—transparent, enabling three-dimensional analysis.

We have now completed the evaluation, selection and ordering of three new imaging setups, which are devoted spinning disc confocal microscopy, wide field microscopy, and live cell imaging respectively. In order to support sample preparation for these newly-acquired technologies we have also equipped our preparation lab with the relevant incubator and hood.

The spinning disc confocal microscope selected for purchase is the Andor Dragonfly.

Andor Dragonfly Spinning Disc Confocal Microscope

Used for live and fixed high-resolution imaging in both 2D and 3D, spinning disc confocal microscopy overcomes a technical problem associated with scanning confocal microscopy: the fact that, when studying dynamic samples, there can be a time “skew” between the imaging of the first and last points. Our new Ador Dragonfly system will overcome this problem, enabling more accurate imaging. It is also characterized by low toxicity, as well as faster, non-invasive imaging in both 2D and 3D, making it particularly useful for tracking sensitive processes.

In wide field microscopy, the apparatus selected was the DMi8 Leica. Based on a technology in which the entire specimen of interest is exposed to the light source, wide field microscopy makes it possible to obtain an image as a single frame, without the need for scanning. This is particularly advantageous in situations where we want to visualize dynamic processes simultaneously across the object of interest.

Leica DMi8 Microscope

For live cell imaging, the de Picciotto-Lesser Cancer Cell Observatory selected the Zeiss Celldiscoverer7 platform.

Zeiss Celldiscoverer 7

This new system will help Institute scientists achieve better data quickly, by offering automatic calibration in fluorescence microcopy of living samples, according to thickness and optical properties.
In another development related to technical infrastructure, the de Picciotto-Lesser Cancer Cell Observatory recently purchased a new image analysis station. This upgrade increases the computational power needed for processing large quantities of data.

In another important development, the Cell Observatory team was recently expanded, with the addition of a departmental IT expert. We are planning to recruit an additional staff member specializing in IT, in order to meet the needs of all the researchers who make use of the technologies available through our increasingly busy department.

I am pleased to report that, following data collection made possible by the use of Observatory instrumentation, a number of Weizmann Institute research groups are in the process of submitting papers to high profile journals.

In terms of our future plans, we are currently looking into the acquisition of a new microscopy platform called Super Resolution STED. This type of microscopy enables users to image live and fixed sample in high resolution beyond the diffraction barrier. Sometimes called “nanoscopy” because of its ability to subcellular architecture and dynamics, this new system will be an important addition to the Cell Observatory’s technological capabilities.

We are also planning to expand the Observatory’s software resources for image analysis. Specifically, we are examining commercial software used for deconvolution—a technique that allows users to extract finer details from imaging data, whether this data is acquired using Observatory platforms, or in microscopes, or in other setups located elsewhere on the Weizmann campus.

Dr. Sefi Addadi


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