Cellular imaging provides the basis for the investigation of physiological processes on the molecular level. For this, MoMAN offers access to innovative microscopy techniques covering electron, confocal, multiphoton and high-resolution microscopy suitable for gaining insight into the functional organization and dynamics of molecules in living cells. In addition a laser microdissection system allows the isolation of cellular material.
Imaging methods play an enormous role in biomedical research due to their huge potential for supporting translational research from the molecular level to clinical evaluation.
Translational imaging includes a wide interdisciplinary field and MoMAN combines state-of-the-art imaging techniques with the expertise of an interdisciplinary research team.
The right panel shows a short overview of our infrastructure and methods.
The Central Facility Electron Microscopy is equipped with several transmission and scanning electron microscopes. A wide range of electron microscopic techniques are used including standard protocols, dedicated cryo-preparation techniques, and 3D analysis at nanoscale. Furthermore, several novel approaches are explored for 3D analysis, including scanning transmission electron tomography and focused ion beam / scanning electron microscopy.
The Core Facility for Confocal and Multiphoton Microscopy provides two laser scanning microscopes which are coupled to an fs-pulsed laser to provide multiphoton microscopy. Besides spectral and time-resolved detection, detailed fluorescence lifetime imaging is possible and data analysis support is offered.
The Core Facility Lasermicrodissection offers a fully equipped PALM MicroBeam. This system allows a contact-free isolation and collection of high-purity cells from tissue samples and cell culture.
- The 200 kV STEM is used for 3D imaging of cryo samples.
- inverted confocal laser scanning microscope
- incubation chamber (PeCon)
- multiphoton excitation
- suitable for live cell imaging, FLIM (Fluorescence-lifetime imaging microscopy) and PLIM (Phosphorescence-lifetime imaging microscopy)
- inverted confocal microscope
- small incubation chamber
- suitable for high-throughput live cell imaging
- laser microdissection and analysis for DNA, RNA and protein isolation
- applicable to cryosections, FFPE tissue and cell culture
- selective isolation and recultivation of adherent cells
- positive and negative selection
- RoboMover for automated high throughput sample collection
- multichannel fluorescence and analysis software for the automated detection of fluorescence stained cells
- incubation chamber for cell culture
The Insitute of Comparative Molecular Endocrinology (Head Prof. Jan Tuckermann) offers to use an ImageXpressMicro Confocal System that allows on fluorescense base an automatic microscopy quantification of cellular assays (High Content Analysis). This is helpful for setting up readouts for cellular screens for medium throughput to test pharmacological substances, siRNA or Crispr libraries on cellular readouts (such as cell numbers, cell morphology, differentiation marker and many more parameters; see also Sci. Rep. 8 14045 and Curr Protoc Cytom 77 12.43.1–12.43.44.). If you are interested to use this setup please contact jan.tuckermann(at)uni-ulm.de.
In addition, the Institute of Biophysics runs an atomic force microscope dedicated for biological samples, several super-resolution fluorescence microscopes (STORM, STED) and a reflected light sheet microscope, suitable for live-cell imaging on the single-molecule level.
Small Animal Imaging
In translational research animal imaging represents an important link between cellular and human imaging. As the imaging methods used in animal studies are similarly applied in humans, advances in imaging techniques are directly transferable to clinical diagnostics.
The Core Facility Small Animal Imaging offers advanced magnetic resonsance tomography and spectroscopy as well as computed tomography for non-invasive strucural and functional imaging in mice, rats and tissue samples. Studies with larger animals can be performed on a 3T MRI scanner.
Applications cover detailed anatomical information, functional and metabolic quantification, radiotracer distribution, 3D surface topography, perfusion/diffusion measurements, fibre tracking and analysis of the structural and functional connectome.
- ultrahigh field MR imaging and spectroscopy system by Bruker (BioSpec 117/16)
- field strength: 11.7T
- slew rate: 6660 T/m/s
- bore size: 16 cm
- 8-channel receive system
- 1H, 13C, 19F, 23Na, and 31P imaging and spectroscopy
- soft tissue imaging (< 100 µm spatial resolution)
- numerous high-sensitive cryogenically cooled receive coils
- advanced rapid MR spectroscopy for a multitude of metabolic processes
- PET/MR/CT image fusion
- small animal µ-CT by GE (eXplore Locus)
- in-vivo and in-vitro structural analysis
- high-resolution bone, lung imaging (resolution down to < 10 µm)
Animal facilities are provided to enable for longitudinal imaging studies.
The imaging equipment is complemented by a small animal positron emission tomograph (PET) by Siemens (microPET Focus 120, spatial resolution of 1.3 mm, high sensitivity down to sub-picomolar level), located at the Department of Nuclear Medicine, to which access can be provided if required.
Furthermore, in the Institute of Comparative Molecular Endocrinology two µCTs by Bruker (SkyScan 1174 und 1176) for in-vivo and in-vitro applications as well as a confocal microscope by Molecular Devices (High Content Confocal Microscope) are available upon request.
Human imaging is an indispensable tool in clinical diagnosis and intervention. MoMAN offers access to a new whole-body magnetic resonance imaging scanner, suitable for non-invasive neurological human studies.
The Core Facility 3T-MRI runs a state-of-the-art whole-body magnetic resonance scanner suitable for non-invasive neurological human studies. The CF also provides the infrastructure required to run complex and elaborate pharmacological MRI studies.
Applications include brain imaging under functional challenges either with classical BOLD (blood oxygen level dependent) or MR-based perfusion imaging. Moreover, diffusion weighted imaging with high numbers of gradient directions can be used for microstructural connectivity analysis by diffusion tensor imaging.
- Whole-Body MR imaging system by Siemens (MAGNETOM Prisma)
- field strength: 3T
- slew rate: 200 T/m/s
- 20-channels and 64-channels head coils for fast parallel imaging
- equipment for neuronal, thoracic and cardiovascular imaging (< 100 µm spatial resolution)
- technical systems for visual, acoustic and sensory stimulation
The imaging equipment is complemented by a whole-body PET/CT scanner by Siemens (Biograph mCT40, spatial resolution of around 4 mm (PET) and up to 500 µm (CT)), located at the Department of Nuclear Medicine, to which access can be provided if required.