Bringing Laser Capture Microscopy Technology to the University of Bristol

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Bristol Medical School


We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers working on a wide range of topics. We study the heart, kidney function, brain wiring and regeneration, wound healing, stress, etc. For our work we need to go from single cells to whole animals and human participants. This means we need to study complex biological samples that contain multiple types of cells in complex environments. In this proposal we are requesting an advanced Laser Capture-Micromanipulation platform that will allow us to zoom in at individual cells. We want not just to isolate these cells but also to manipulate them using microscopic laser tweezers and to do this under carefully controlled experimental conditions. This would represent a fantastic opportunity to expand our research so that we can continue to produce transformative research with real potential to improve health and wellbeing across the life course.

Technical Summary

We are requesting an integrated Laser-Based Dissection - Optical Trapping system with enhanced imaging capabilities and environmental control (LCM-OT-I-EC system). Laser Capture Microdissection or LCM enables the isolation of regions of interest, specific single cells and subcellular structures within a given sample. Micro-dissected material can then be used for a whole range of downstream omics applications. We would be able to study specific cell populations within more physiologically relevant, heterogenous and complex microenvironments. A unique advantage of the requested system is the integrated optical tweezers capacity, which can be used to manipulate up to ten microscopic objects simultaneously and in three dimensions. We wish to apply this technology to the study of DNA/RNA/Protein interactions and conformational changes, cellular transport and cytoskeleton, drug research, bioengineering, biomaterials. Furthermore, the requested system is equipped with full environmental control and advanced imaging capacity enabling exquisitely refined experimental paradigms. LCM-OT-I-EC would be a transformative and versatile platform for Life and Health scientists in Bristol and the Southwest. We wish to use this platform to further our understanding fundamental questions in biology: investigating for example autophagic regulation, novel mechanisms controlling the cellular stress response, improving wound healing, transformative biotechnologies, developing novel in vitro glomerulosclerosis models to facilitate kidney research, understanding osmoregulatory dysfunction with age, the epigenetic effects of glucocorticoid signalling, or whether shear stress in the renal glomerulus is a critical regulator of the kidney filtration. We are a multidisciplinary team with wide-spanning research objectives and have a large number of active projects focusing on heart, kidney, and brain function which would be immensely benefited by having an LCM-OT-I-EC platform in Bristol.


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