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Biotechnology Programme

Confocal Microscopy Core Unit

Head of Unit:  Diego Megías
Research highlights

The Confocal Microscopy Unit is equipped with 3 laser scanning confocal systems (Leica SP5) that incorporate UV and multiphoton excitation, as well as a white light laser and Hybrid Detection; and 2 wide field systems (a Deltavision 4D deconvolution station and a Leica DMRI6000 system, equipped with microinjection and microfluidics control). All the microscopes are automated and equipped with incubators for live cell imaging.

In addition, the Unit has implemented the use of high throughput technologies applied to confocal microscopy using two different systems:

  • An Opera (Perkin Elmer) High Content Screening (HCS) system, which allows running HCS experiments on fixed and live cells in multiwell plates, and enables the monitoring of cell dynamics (translocation, cell division, etc.) through the use of fluorescence.
  • A Matrix Screening Application integrated into the SP5 confocal systems, enabling high throughput feeding of the instrument, not only in multiwell plates but also in tissue sections.

These advances enable us to increase the level of information obtained from a sample as well as carry out the automated screening of cell behaviour under different treatments.

The Confocal Microscopy Unit continues to dedicate significant efforts towards the development and implantation of High Content Screening technology at CNIO; during this year, we carried out several medium size screenings with up to 5,000 compounds. In order to boost the output of our results, we reinforced our image and data analysis capabilities by hiring a dedicated person, thereby giving us the possibility of establishing more advanced routines.

The Unit is promoting and helping with the latest sample preparation protocol development, bringing knowledge in tissue clearing as well as in expansion microscopy. Moreover, Microfluidics, used for live cell assays in perfusion chambers, has also experienced a great increase in performance and demand. The field of intra-vital microscopy is already available and we are now running several projects for studies of metastasis and skin alterations.