New insights from the CSH Imaging Course

August 2, 2013

IMG_6609Each summer, expert microscopists from around the globe descend on Cold Spring Harbor to teach an imaging course. The course consists of both lectures and labs. For the latter, the directors, lecturers and TAs rapidly assemble an unbelieveable assortment of microscopes. Within a week of arriving, they construct setups for imaging population activity, visualizing dendritic spines and uncaging glutamate. It’s incredible. My postdoc, Matt Kaufman and I have been sitting in on some lectures. We’ve heard about cutting edge work from Linda Wilbrecht, Valentina Emiliani, David Kleinfeld, Florin Albeanu and Jack Waters. Jack gave a great lecture about quantifying calcium sensors which Matt and I both enjoyed. Jack described an impressive bag of tricks for dealing with issues like background signal and cell-to-cell variability in brightness.

IMG_6603We were also very fortunate in getting to pitch in as skilled TA Annalisa Scimemi assembled a 2 photon microscope. Annalisa is from the NIH but is en route to SUNY Albany to start her own lab. She explained to us how to align the laser correctly and direct it at a pair of mirror galvonometers to scan a piece of tissue. When the setup was up and running and we saw our first cells (at midnight, of course, see image at the top), we all cheered.

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