Novel imaging methods for imaging live biological processes
Novel Imaging Methods for Live Biological Processes
The focus of our research group is the development of novel instrumentation using the numerous properties of light.
Photonics at large involves the generation, emission, transmission, reflection, modulation of light, and its detection. Biophotonics means that we are interested in these properties in the context of biological research.
Spatial and temporal resolution
To understand how a biological system works, scientists need information on the organization of its components (its structure) and the function of all its components. To obtain the most precise information on the structure, the spatial resolution of the tool used for probing the biological matter is a limiting factor on the level of details.
In our research, we are interested in developing optical imaging that will unravel the three-dimensional structure with unprecedented level of details. The figure on the right displays a comparison between two optical microscopy methods, underlying the importance of spatial resolution to obtain the relevant structure, in this case mitochondria in the cytoplasm of a human cell.
Biological processes being intrinsically dynamics, we are developing optical microscopes that also can acquire very fast three-dimensional volumes. The temporal resolution obtained correspond to how fast one time point can be acquired. Most of biological processes dynamics would range from ms to hours, so the optical imaging is required to perturb the sample as little as possible, to be able to image for very long time periods or to image with ms time resolution.
Phototoxicity and photodamage
To obtain specificity in the structure observed, fluorescent markers are used. These markers use absorption of light to be excited, and emit a lower energy photon by fluorescence. The main limitation of using fluorescent markers is the photobleaching of the fluorescence intensity. The optical methods we are developing also will be targeted in delivering the excitation light in clever way to limit or suppress the photobleaching and light phototoxicity to living specimens.
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