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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Life Sciences symposium to showcase Southampton’s 3D imaging technologies

Published: 5 June 2019
3D imaging
Image credit Prof Sumeet Mahajan

Southampton has a broad community of researchers at the forefront of imaging technologies, and is showcasing a selection of this expertise at a mini-symposium exploring 3D imaging in the life sciences.

The Biophotonics and Imaging Mini-Symposium: Optical Volumetric Imaging in the Life Sciences is building on the bioimaging event held earlier this year, when imaging users and developers gathered to share the latest technologies that are enabling biological breakthroughs.

Symposium organiser Professor Sumeet Mahajan, Head of the Biophotonics Group and Imaging theme lead in the Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), said: “The Southampton Bioimaging Symposium in January was a great success in showcasing the general imaging expertise we have here at Southampton. This second mini-symposium will focus on the more specific emerging field of 3D imaging to raise awareness of our capabilities and opportunities.

“One of the current challenges in life sciences is how to get 3D images of objects without tampering with and/or damaging the samples. We need to be able to see these samples in their native state to see how they truly work. This emerging imaging area could have a significant impact in a variety of areas, including drug development, cancer therapy, agrichemical and crop sustainability, IVF screening, and understanding more about microplastics in our oceans.

“There is a vast amount of research going on across the University in Medicine, Engineering, Chemistry, the Zepler Institute, Biological Sciences, and Ocean and Earth Sciences, and this mini-symposium will showcase the various ways in which our researchers are developing and using the technological tools to address this challenge. We aim to raise awareness both among the academic community and the wider public. We highlighted the role of photonics in medical diagnosis and treatment to visitors to the University Science and Engineering Day earlier this year.

“We hope that by providing another opportunity for the imaging community to come together and share ideas, we will enable the facilitation of future collaborations. It is only by sharing our expertise in cutting-edge optical technology that our research teams can continue to be ahead of the field.”

Southampton is already leading the way in developing and using volumetric imaging, including developing fertility sensors, mapping 3D networks in human lung tissue, laser spectroscopy in chemistrymarine plastic pollution and the imaging of plant roots and nutrient uptake.

Expertise in correlative imaging at the University has led to the creation of the Correlative Imaging Forum – an open discussion platform where research staff from the Biomedical Imaging Unit and the μ-VIS X-Ray Imaging Centre focus on technical issues and application areas related to correlative imaging. The forum provides an opportunity for students and academics to discuss, troubleshoot and receive feedback on their ongoing projects, and to enlarge their professional network. They are also hosting the 7th edition of the Tomography for Scientific Advancement (ToScA) symposium. that will include themes in biological (hard and soft) tissue imaging, understanding materials in 3D and recent advances in hardware and software tools.

Developing a strong community of Southampton bioimaging experts and users is part of the IfLS’ commitment to catalyse interdisciplinary research in different areas of imaging technologies.

Professor Peter J S Smith, Director of the Institute, said: “Building the imaging and biophotonics community provides opportunities for new collaborations and interdisciplinary working, and continues to push the boundaries of developments in these areas.”

The free mini-symposium is being held at the University on 14 June, from 14:00, with keynote speaker Mike Shaw, a Senior Research Scientist in the Biometrology Group at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). Mike leads the development of high resolution optical microscopy techniques for bioimaging at NPL and will share with delegates the challenges in optical imaging and how new techniques are greatly enhancing our ability to use light to visualise and study biological systems.

He will be joined by four other speakers:

  • Emily Mort – from the University of Cambridge and University of Southampton MRes alumna, who will present the research she did at Southampton using the facilities at the Biomedical Imaging Unit (BIU)
  • Dr Melissa Andrews – a Lecturer in Biological Sciences at Southampton, who will talk of her work in the nervous system highlighting the use of light sheet microscopy
  • Stefan Milutinovic – a student at Cardiff University, who will talk about the light sheet microscope facilities he has used at Southampton to help with his research
  • Dr Simon Lane - from Southampton Biophotonics Group, who will talk about using new light sheet microscopy-based methodologies in his research into developmental biology

The symposium is being co-organised by Dr David Johnston, from the BIU, and Dr Mark Willett, from IMC, in Biological Sciences, and is open to staff and students across the University who are interested in learning more about bioimaging.

Find out more and register for a place on Eventbrite ticketing page.

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