FocalPlane features… open microscopy and accessible workflows

Posted by , on 21 May 2024

The third webinar in the latest series of FocalPlane features… was on open microscopy and accessible workflows. We hosted fantastic talks from Richard Bowman, Jan Huisken and Dumisile Lumkwana.

Richard told us about the OpenFlexure project. As well as discussing the microscopes and their application, Richard highlighted the importance of community building to promote access to technology. One of the ways the OpenFlexure project do this is by inviting users and developers to use the forum on their website.

Jan discussed the Flamingo project, which brings high-end light sheet microscopy to biologists. The Flamingo microscopes are modular builds that were inspired by the difficulty of moving complex microscopes between labs and a desire to increase reproducibility.

Dumi introduced VP-CLEM-KIT, a new workflow for correlative light-electron microscopy that is both low cost and user friendly. The pipeline includes an optimised in-resin fluorescence protocol and the group are calling for beta testers to ensure that the protocol is robust.

Additional question, answered via the Q&A box: For Richard and Jan, beyond hardware design, how do you think quality control can be implemented at community level while taking advantage of hardware customizability and reproducibility capabilities?

Jan: On the Flamingo it is very easy to run specific reproducible workflows. These can be run on test samples to evaluate the performance of the system such as the light sheet parameters. These workflows can be run every morning on all systems if needed.

Richard: Great question! There are a lot of things to be done (several of which we’re actively pursuing).
The biggest one is including comprehensive calibration/commissioning routines in the software. We already calibrate the stage motion against the camera, and do flat-field correction, but future version of the microscope should be able to measure the effective resolution and estimate a point spread function. Putting that together with a little data on the components used will then let us figure out if it all looks like it’s working correctly. As we add more calibration steps, we’ll be able to verify more and more robustly that microscopes are performing correctly – even if they’re customised.
The other avenue we’re looking at is embedding quality assurance in the build process. This is pretty universal in medical devices and commercially produced high-quality products. That might include recording values during the build process, ticking off assembly steps (and checks) as they are performed, or adding photos.

1 Star (No Ratings Yet)

Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: News, Discussions, Education

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get involved

Create an account or log in to post your story on FocalPlane.

More posts like this


Filter by