Translational Imaging Center @ USC Michelson’s Bridge Institute

The Fraser Lab at USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience’s Bridge Institute is the leading research group in the creation and use of imaging technology. They are the primary providers of some of the most powerful microscopes in Southern California. Moreover, the research group is at the forefront of new technology and novel experimentation in the Translational Imaging Center.

Microscopes: the most frequently utilized scientific tool in the world

Microscopes: the most frequently utilized scientific tool in the world

Microscopes: the most frequently utilized scientific tool in the world

Microscopes: the most frequently utilized scientific tool in the world

Microscopes provided singularly rapid advancement in in the studies of cellular biology and microbiology. They are arguably among the most frequently utilized scientific tool in the world. From basic physics in the light microscope to the complexity of an electron microscope, these tools continue to push the boundaries of observation and experimentation.

The compound microscope is used to view translucent images prepared on slides (e.g. cells, slices of tissue). The light microscope is most commonly associated with science. Like compound microscopes they use light to visualize either individual objects or subjects mounted on slides.

Stereo microscopes help to view larger samples, which are not translucent, like hair or other fibrous material. The electron microscope is viewed through a vacuum, providing the highest magnification and resolution of any visual device. This type of microscope uses electron scattering to produce a two or three-dimensional picture.

Transmission electron microscopes (TEM) is utilized similarly to light microscopes. TEM is primarily used to view translucent images, like the organelles of a cell. A scanning electron microscope renders three dimensional images of various surfaces such as metal, insects, or snowflakes.

The Fraser Lab @ USC

The Fraser Lab @ USC

The Fraser Lab @ USC

The Fraser Lab @ USC

The Fraser Lab at USC Michelson’s Bridge Institute is a forerunner in imaging and microscopy. Dr. Scott Fraser leads the lab, including its multiple divisions: the Translational Imaging Center (TIC), the Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA), Translational Biomedical Imaging Laboratory (TBIL), and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) center.

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM: Photo-Activated Localization Microscope (PALM), Structured Illumination Microscope (SIM), 405nm, 456nm, 488nm, 561nm, 642nm excitation, Heated Chamber (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM: Photo-Activated Localization Microscope (PALM), Structured Illumination Microscope (SIM), 405nm, 456nm, 488nm, 561nm, 642nm excitation, Heated Chamber (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM: Photo-Activated Localization Microscope (PALM), Structured Illumination Microscope (SIM), 405nm, 456nm, 488nm, 561nm, 642nm excitation, Heated Chamber (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

Zeiss Elyra Superresolution PALM SIM: Photo-Activated Localization Microscope (PALM), Structured Illumination Microscope (SIM), 405nm, 456nm, 488nm, 561nm, 642nm excitation, Heated Chamber (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC)

Dr. Fraser is former chairman of the biophysics department of University of California Irvine, and director of the Biological Imaging Center at the California Institute of Technology. His own research focuses on the imagining and molecular analyses of intact biological systems including early development, organogenesis, and medical diagnostics. In only the last year Dr. Fraser has coauthored more than five articles ranging in topics like craniofacial development and skeletal morphogenesis.

Translational Imaging Center

Translational Imaging Center

Translational Imaging Center

Translational Imaging Center

As a key member of the Bridge Institute, the TIC focuses on improving current imaging technology. The TIC is the most advanced microscopy lab on the USC campus, performing dual roles of research and user facility. It covers a huge number of scientific disciplines including, conventional light microscopy, laser scanning microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and MRI microscopy. The Bridge Institute maintains a variety of microscopes, MRI machines, and other imaging tools as open sources to the university in an effort to share wealthy resources and invigorate scientific research.

The TIC’s work recently expanded into models of disease such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and models of eye diseases such as Macular Degeneration. Advanced imaging techniques developed at the TIC track events as they occur in the living cells and organisms. This method generates a unique data collection leading to more innovative and focused hypotheses.

USC Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA)

USC Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA)

USC Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA)

USC Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA)
USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: OMX Blaze  (Credit: Robert Perkins)

Marc Green, research lab technician at the USC Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA), offers training sessions for new users of the GE DeltaVision OMX Blaze. (Credit: Robert Perkins)

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: OMX Blaze  (Credit: Robert Perkins)

Marc Green, research lab technician at the USC Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA), offers training sessions for new users of the GE DeltaVision OMX Blaze. (Credit: Robert Perkins)

The Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA) shares similar goals, aiming to provide the tools for researching nano-scale features and structures (man-made and natural). The CEMMA features four different scanning electron microscopes and a photon super resolution OMX microscope. This collection offers some of the most intensely magnified images available to date.

“The center strives to provide a networked environment with cutting-edge instrumentation, modern infrastructure, and access to skilled personnel to ensure efficient utilization of instrumental capabilities and development of unique instrumentation and techniques”. [CEMMA Mission Statement]

Groundbreaking research at the Fraser Lab

Groundbreaking research at the Fraser Lab

Groundbreaking research at the Fraser Lab

Groundbreaking research at the Fraser Lab

Most recently the Fraser Lab utilized their network of technology and skilled personnel to study diabetic retinopathy with the goal of improved diagnosis through new imaging technology. Diabetic retinopathy results from damaged retinal blood cells, and is traditionally diagnosed through a lengthy and invasive process. Fraser seeks to refine the procedures through new technology called optical coherence tomography. He describes it as, “an optical equivalent of an ultrasound machine”. The technology is faster and does not require the injection of florescent dye into the retina. Once completed, Fraser and his colleagues intend for pharmacies across the world to implement the update procedure.

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

Optical Coherence Tomography, seen above, is an older imaging test similar to a ultrasound, that uses light waves instead of sound to take cross-section pictures of your retina, allows for the viewing of blood vessels and tissue (Credit: USC Dornsife / TIC).

A networked research approach

A networked research approach

A networked research approach

A networked research approach

In addition to adapting new technologies to improve existing procedures, the Fraser Lab also confronts new challenges. For example, damage sustained during a heart attack sometimes mends with the introduction of stem cells. MRI technology allows for observation of the differentiation of the cells as they restore dead tissue. Again, the Fraser Lab engages in cutting-edge medical research.

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: 3D Zebrafish Heart (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

3D projection of a confocal image of a zebrafish heart at 28 hpf (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: 3D Zebrafish Heart (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

3D projection of a confocal image of a zebrafish heart at 28 hpf (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: 3D Zebrafish Heart (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

3D projection of a confocal image of a zebrafish heart at 28 hpf (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

USC Michelson; Translational Imaging Center: 3D Zebrafish Heart (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

3D projection of a confocal image of a zebrafish heart at 28 hpf (Image courtesy of Le Trinh)

Construction on the new USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience began in October of 2014 with completion expected in 2017. The Michelson Center will provide a fitting home for the groundbreaking work of the Fraser Lab. The close proximity of its various divisions will promote cooperation in combined areas of physics, biotechnology, microbiology, disease research, and imaging. Exhibited in the networked approach of the Fraser Lab, The USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience ensures collaboration and innovation among forward thinking scientists.

Image Credit

References

  1. Translational Imaging Center [USC]
  2. History of the microscope [microscope.org]
  3. Fraser Lab: USC stem cell [USC]
  4. Types of microscopes [cas.miamioh.edu]
  5. Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis [USC]
  6. Types of light microscopes [Microbehunter Microscopy Magazine]
  7. Researchers devise a better way to potentially avert blindness [2015-06-10. Erin Rode. USC]
  8. Does a fish hold the key to regenerating the heart after a heart attack? [2015-07-08. Cristy Lytal. USC]
  9. What Is Optical Coherence Tomography? [2015-10-14. Kierstan Boyd. AAO]
  10. Officials break ground on USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience [2014-10-24. Robert Perkins. USC]

Related Links

(Updated: 2017-09-28)

Credit: Text curated by Jinnah Griffin

Francis Malarkey is a graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. He has worked in research for more than 2 years, and has presented his work at the annual gathering of the Society for Neuroscience.

Francis Malarkey is a graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. He has worked in research for more than 2 years, and has presented his work at the annual gathering of the Society for Neuroscience.

Francis Malarkey is a graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. He has worked in research for more than 2 years, and has presented his work at the annual gathering of the Society for Neuroscience.

Francis Malarkey is a graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. He has worked in research for more than 2 years, and has presented his work at the annual gathering of the Society for Neuroscience.