Cutting-edge optical microscopy and flow cytometry
Post author: Lauren Hyde. Last update: 02/11/2015 at 10:39 am by Lauren Hyde.
The Advanced Fluorescence Imaging Platform provides access to cutting-edge optical microscopy and flow cytometry for researchers at the University of Melbourne, as well as the wider community. The platform focuses on providing access to three key techniques; super-resolution microscopy, live cell imaging and imaging flow cytometry. These three complementary techniques benefit researchers in the fields of nanomedicine, immunology, materials engineering, cell biology and cancer research and spans the faculties of Engineering, Science and Medicine. Furthermore, the multi-disciplinary nature of the platform will foster collaboration between microscopists, cell biologists, physicists and material scientists.
Until recently, the highest resolution that can be achieved using optical microscopy has been limited to ~250nm. However, many nanoengineered materials and structures within cells, such as nanocapsules and cellular membranes are smaller than this limit. The super-resolution microscopes at the AFI platform offer the ability to break this resolution limit and resolve structures down to 20 nm. However, while super-resolution microscopy at the nanometer scale gives unprecedented insight into cellular systems, it is also important to understand interactions in living cells. The AFI platform offers super-resolution live-cell imaging down to 100 nm, as well as conventional live-cell imaging.
Imaging flow cytometry bridges the gap between microscopy and flow cytometry. While microscope based systems have low throughput, flow cytometry is unable to acquire structural information. Imaging flow cytometry enables structural information to be gathered at a rate in excess of 100 cells per second, allowing meaningful statistical information to be obtained. The AFI is the only facility in Australia to combine Super-Resolution Microscopy, Live Cell imaging and Imaging Flow Cytometry.
These instruments take significant skill and expertise to operate. To facilitate access, a full-time platform support officer is available to run samples and train repeat users. Due to the specialised nature of operation, the super-resolution microscopes (Nikon N-STORM and OMX BLAZE) are only available for assisted use with the platform support officer.
The Advanced Fluorescence Imaging platform has particular expertise in;
- super-resolution techniques such as SIM and STORM/PALM
- fluorescence imaging and analysis from TIRF, confocal, deconvolution and flow cytometry
- experiment design for complementary super-resolution microscopy, flow cytometry and live-cell imaging
- developing molecular sensors for biological sensing
- studying the in vitro behaviour of nanomaterials
- applying super-resolution imaging techniques for material characterisation
To access the instrumentation, either as a collaboration or fee for service, please contact the platform support officer Paul Brannon. We welcome new users and collaborators, and can provide guidance for experimental design and reagent selection. We also stock a range of fluorescent antibodies, organelle stains and sensors to help users optimise their staining protocols. Existing users can make instrument bookings here.
Type: Core facility in a research organisation
Discipline areas: Biological Science, Chemical Science, Engineering Science, Materials Science, Nano Science
Precinct: South east
Affiliations: The University of Melbourne