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Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute


Caption: Left panel: Cell tracking for Mitotic Index Analysis (with C-B. Schoenlieb, DAMTP). Middle panel: Image Analsyis of mitotic spindle components in 3D (with F. Gergley). Right panel: High content Analysis with CompuCyte iCys iGen software.

Light microscopy core facility

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The Light Microscopy Facility provides state-of-the-art light microscopy and develops new imaging modes.

The facility specialises in: advanced live-cell imaging using wide-field and spinning disc imaging systems; confocal scanning light microscopy; non-linear imaging techniques such as multi-photon, second harmonic, CARS and fluorescence life-time imaging (FLIM); in vivo imaging at high-resolution; quantitative high-content image acquisition and analysis.

In 2013, Patrice Mascalchi (from Rennes, France) joined the facility with extensive image analysis and high content imaging expertise. Patrice has linked confocal and wide-field imaging with the iCys imaging cytometry for quantitative high-content imaging and analysis experiments.

In February 2014 we launched the Cambridge-wide IMAGES network, which brings together leading academics from all six Schools, international experts and research-led industries which work on pioneering imaging technologies and analytical algorithms.

We are using the LaVision TriMScope system for label-free imaging studies. The TriMScope is a fast multi-photon scanning system, equipped with a Ti:Sapphire laser (Chameleon, Coherent Inc.) and optical parametric oscillator (OPO, APE) providing fs-pulsed excitation ranging from 690nm to 1600nm. We have added CARS imaging to fluorescence and SHG imaging capacity of the system in collaboration with Sumeet Mahajan (Southampton) and Christian Steuwe (now Leuven). Imran Patel has developed a range of CARS applications for label-free apoptosis and cellular stress studies related to cancer-drug assays.

The CompuCyte iCys system is a unique scanning system for high-content cytometry analysis in combination with high contrast image acquisition. Applications include measuring ligand uptake, apoptosis, tumour vasculature and drug distribution, DNA damage in cancer cells and tissue microarrays  (Ireland-Zecchini et al., Curr Protoc Cytometry 2012; 59: 12.25.1).

We have a range of live-cell imaging systems for stable long-term live cell imaging experiments including the newest sCMOS camera (Andor eNeo) with fast frame rates.
The EMBO-funded annual course in Plymouth has become a centre for training and discussion in advanced optical microscope methods.

Research and Development

Current projects include the following:

  1. In collaboration with Carola Schoenlieb (DAMTP, Cambridge) and Joana Grah we are developing image analysis tools to quantify mitotic index analysis and cell tracking in cancer (Patrice Mascalchi with Fanni Gergely and Isabel Peset-Martin).
  2. We are using second harmonic imaging based on a scattered signal, e.g. to demonstrate the formation of vessels from endothelial cells as well as the extracellular matrix in tumours (Alexander Schreiner with the Griffiths group).
  3. Imran Patel is developing CARS imaging as a method for label-free cancer studies in collaboration with Sumeet Mahajan (Southampton).


Group members

Recent publications

Tavaré Group, Histopathology, Light microscopy, Pre-clinical imaging
- 31 Aug 2017
Balasubramanian Group, Light microscopy
- 13 Sep 2016
Neal Group, Bioinformatics, Light microscopy, Brindle Group, Griffiths Group
- 20 May 2014

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