Multidisciplinary core facility for microscopic image analysis and three-dimensional stereology

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Optometry and Vision Sciences


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Technical Summary

The principal objective of this application is to provide a core group of internationally-renowned scientists in the Schools of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Biosciences and Psychology at Cardiff University with a central microscopy and image analysis facility that is capable of 3-D reconstruction and analysis at all levels of biological systems from individual cells up to entire structures (eg. brain centres, cornea, retina, etc). These scientists are involved in a wide range of BBSRC-funded research projects that will make direct use of these facilities and all of which are directed towards furthering our understanding of fundamental processes to provide the key physiological and anatomical data for constraining and promoting general theories about biological systems. This microscopy system is needed now, as there is a very pressing need to improve and expand the facilities that are currently available in order to capitalise upon this leading-edge technology and enable researchers involved in this application to produce data that are internationally competitive. Indeed, the use of high specification microscopy and image analysis systems is increasingly important in innovative research. Only such state-of-the-art equipment and software for the investigation of biological tissue at a sub-cellular, cellular and even higher levels can achieve both the high volume of analyses needed and the necessary objective assessment of cell morphology, location, and tissue structure, all in three dimensions. The full proposal highlights a number of individual world-class projects that would significantly benefit directly from this resource. The proposed system will be integrated into the envisioned microscope suite in the new £16 million Optometry building now being built and will be used by internationally renowned scientists from a wide range of disciplines, examining topics as far-ranging as corneal transparency, neuronal plasticity, memory and development. The acquisition of this microscopy facility will not only extend and promote research projects that are currently funded by peer-reviewed BBSRC grants, but will also put in place a research infrastructure that will help to provide the objective data required for future cutting edge studies of biological systems, encourage multidisciplinary collaboration, and provide an outstanding research environment to attract and retain post-doctoral and post-graduate researchers of the highest calibre.


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