The microTissue Imaging Core (MIC) is a sub part of the Technical Focus Area (TFA) microscopy and the EM Facility dedicated for imaging microtissues, such as organoids, stem-cell derived structures and tissue biopsies in order to support basic understanding of structures underlying regenerative medicine to create a bridge between fundamental imaging and clinical application.
Light and electron microscopy are the two complementary imaging techniques to investigate microtissues. Whilst light microscopy can visualize labeled structures in larger multicellular structures and tissues, electron microscopy provides subcellular morphology structures of membrane structures and organelles.
Conventionally, the main distinction between light and electron microscopy imaging is the large difference in sample size (large in light microscopy, small in electron microscopy) and resolution (high in electron microscopy, low in light microscopy), which are typically two orders of magnitude apart. The conventional differences between light and electron microscopy are increasingly being bridged with the development of super-resolution light microscopy techniques (to bridge the resolution gap) and Serial Block Face Scanning Electron Microscopy (SBF-SEM; to bridge the size gap).
In order to to expand the electron microscopy support capabilities to large-sized pre-clinical samples we have (i) developed large scale 2D TEM stitched imaging and (ii) acquired a SBF-SEM capable of large scale 3D imaging. Using these techniques we have performed several pioneering projects including multicellular samples,
organoids, tissue biopsies and zebrafish, showing the potential and capabilities but also the current efficiency limitations.
MIC is aimed at expanding both the speed, specifically by improving sample preparation and data acquisition speed, and introducing 3D visualization and quantification capabilities for large scale microscopy imaging.