A new microscope developed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI’s) Janelia Research Campus in Virginia is giving scientists a clearer, more comprehensive view of biological processes as they unfold in living animals. The microscope produces images of entire organisms, such as a zebrafish or fruit fly embryo, with enough resolution in all three dimensions so that each cell appears as a distinct structure. What's more, the new microscope does so at speeds fast enough to watch cells move as a developing embryo takes shape and to monitor brain activity as it flashes through neuronal circuits. Nearly two years in development, Janelia group leader Dr. Philipp Keller says his team has built the first light microscope capable of imaging large, non-transparent specimens at sub-second temporal resolution and sub-cellular spatial resolution in all dimensions. Dr. Keller and his team at Janelia aim to understand how a functioning nervous system emerges in an embryo. Over the last five years, they have devised several imaging technologies that make it possible to image large biological samples at high speed. His lab's newest microscope, called the IsoView light sheet microscope, overcomes a final challenge--improving spatial resolution--without sacrificing the performance features of his team's previous microscopes. The IsoView microscope is described in an article published online on October 26, 2015, in the journal Nature Methods. The article is titled “Whole-Animal Functional and Developmental Imaging with Isotropic Spatial Resolution.” The publication includes complete building plans for the microscope and the associated image processing software developed by Dr. Keller's team. In 2012, Dr. Keller's team developed the SiMView microscope, which provides fast three-dimensional imaging of large specimens.
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