Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 11th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Shining a Light

New means to image centimetre-sized samples in 3D with unprecedented clarity

07 December 2019

Shining a Light

We’ve come a long way since the first microscopes in the 16th century, as illustrated here by an image created with mesoSPIM, the latest addition to the microscope family. Developed by scientists from different fields and European institutions, this new range of custom light-sheet microscopes allows scientists to create three-dimensional images of the brain in tiny detail, down to the level of individual neurons. High-resolution images of various tissue samples can be captured very quickly without having to cut them up as required with traditional microscopy. Once captured, images are used to construct a three-dimensional model of the whole sample, in this case the entire nervous system of a seven-day old chicken embryo. By teaching other scientists around the world how they can build and use their own mesoSPIM, the team hope that their invention will help unlock new insights about the neural networks in our brain and spinal cord.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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