Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Shedding light on life — new institute to develop biological imaging techniques

Scientific questions are becoming increasingly complex — scientists and engineers must respond by spanning the traditional boundaries between disciplines to develop the sophisticated tools needed to conduct leading research.

That's the thinking behind a new institute set to be launched at The University of Nottingham that brings engineers, physicists, biologists and chemists together under one roof.

The Institute of Biophysics, Imaging and Optical Science (IBIOS) will develop novel imaging technologies using state-of-the-art equipment and use them to solve biological problems. The research could cover any biological system at any scale — from molecules to cells to whole tissue samples.

The institute will be home to a range of optical microscopy equipment and scanning probe systems, including a new scanning conductance ion microscope. Biological and chemical lab facilities will also be available. Software, hardware and silicon chip engineering facilities will allow researchers to build custom-made cameras, and develop systems designed to tackle specific biological problems.

One example of interdisciplinary research within IBIOS is the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Basic Technology Programme — Attogram. Under Attogram, IBIOS is developing new technologies for screening a range of diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), in collaboration with Exeter University. Screening COPD requires the testing of a large number of chemical markers simultaneously. The new system has unique chemistry, which attaches the biological markers to a sensor surface. Specially-designed optics can then interrogate large arrays of these bio-chemicals. Detection of the optical signals from the sensor surface has involved the development of novel camera technologies based on very large scale integration.

IBIOS was formed from two existing groups; the Cell Biophysics Group headed by Professor Paul O'Shea, which is part of the School of Biology; and the Applied Optics Group headed by Professor Mike Somekh in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The institute has also appointed two RCUK Academic Research Fellows in functional imaging, Dr Noah Russell and Dr Mark Pitter. These permanent positions are funded jointly by the University and the Research Councils. A masters research degree in biophotonics will be launched later this year.

“The philosophy of the institute combines state-of-the-art developments in optical imaging technology with curiosity-driven research into cellular biology,” said Prof O'Shea. “The key problems facing us in the investigation of the cell arise from the need to extract more quantitative information from biological systems. As the technology required to obtain this information is simply not available its development and application provides one of the major scientific and technological challenges for the future.”

“The institute provides an environment in which researchers from a range of disciplines can work in a close-knit community, with integrated facilities, with a shared research agenda. This is key to a successful interdisciplinary research programme.”

IBIOS has been funded by grants from EPSRC, RCUK, the European Union, the Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche.

The official launch of the Institute of Biophysics Imaging and Optical Science will take place on April 11 at the School of Biology. Speakers will discuss some of the rewards and pitfalls of working across the physical-biological science boundary. These include Professor Sir Colin Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof David Delpy FRS, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Dr Jonathan Allis, Global Head of Imaging Technology at GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo
19.03.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Scientists develop new tool for imprinting biochips
09.03.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>