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Nikon 100th Anniversary

This is a special year for Nikon. We are humbled to be celebrating our 100th anniversary. From cameras to lithography to microscopy, Nikon strives to illuminate our world. Please check out our special 100th anniversary site and commemorative movie detailing both our past and vision for the future.

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Nikon Instruments Is Hiring!

Are you looking for a career with a dynamic and fast-growing organization? Nikon Instruments is looking for a Bioscience Consignment & Trade Show Administrator. Key responsibilities of this position include coordinating equipment for tradeshows, workshops, and more. This is a great opportunity for non-specialists with strong organizational skills and who are available to travel to learn about optical microscopy and the medical device industry. To learn more and to apply, please visit our careers page.

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Non-Invasive, Focused Ultrasound-Facilitated Gene Delivery for Optogenetics

Researchers at Columbia University have published a new open-access article in Scientific Reports describing a non-invasive gene delivery method for optogenetic experimentation. Lipid microbubble-encapsulated adeno-associated virus (carrying Channelrhodopsin-2 gene) in the blood is introduced into the brain by using transcranial-focused ultrasound (FUS) to transiently breach the blood-brain barrier. Imaging was performed with a Nikon laser scanning confocal microscope.

Learn More @ Nature Scientific Reports

Scientists Tissue-Engineer Part of Human Stomach in Laboratory

Check out this report about researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center who successfully created stomach fundus tissue in the lab using human pluripotent stem cells. Their research, published in Nature, demonstrated that the tissue was able to produce stomach acid and digestive enzymes, indicating high potential for use as a model system. Imaging was performed using a Nikon A1Rsi resonant-scanning confocal microscope with spectral detector.

Learn More @ Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Collective Resistance in Microbial Communities by Intracellular Antibiotic Deactivation

Researchers at the UC San Diego and University of Groningen have published an open-access article in PLOS Biology that provides proof for a mechanism of collective resistance in microbial communities via intracellular antibiotic deactivation. Deactivation of the antibiotic chloramphenicol by resistant bacteria dropped the overall concentration in the growth medium to the point that non-resistant bacteria began to proliferate and even outcompete resistant cells. Live cell imaging was performed with a Nikon Ti-E inverted research microscope.

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MicroRNAs-103/107 Coordinately Regulate Macropinocytosis and Autophagy

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have demonstrated that the microRNA-103/107 family regulates macropinocytosis and end-stage autophagy in the stem cell-enriched limbal epithelium of the eye. Their research, published in the Journal of Cell Biology, found that loss of microRNA-103/107 results in dysregulation of macropinocytosis and formation of large vacuoles. In collaboration with Josh Rappoport of the Nikon Imaging Center at Northwestern, vacuole morphology was characterized using the Nikon N-SIM super-resolution system.

Learn More @ Journal of Cell Biology

3-D Microwell Array System for Culturing Virus Infected Tumor Cells

New open-access research in Scientific Reports details a 3D microwell array system for culturing human tumor cells infected with Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Cells grown in 3D had higher KSHV genome copy numbers than those grown in 2D control (measured by fluorescence microscopy) and higher rates of lytic reactivation, providing a more physiologically relevant model for infection. Live cell imaging was performed using a Nikon Ti-U inverted fluorescence microscope.

Learn More @ Scientific Reports

The Global Challenge in Neuroscience Education and Training: The MBL Perspective

Please check out this wonderful open-access article by Rae Nishi, Director of Education at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA. Dr. Nishi and colleagues discuss the profound impact of the MBL’s research training courses in transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s leading researchers through an intense and collaborative blend of hands-on training and the highest-level instruction. We are very proud to be long-time supporters of the MBL and their research training courses, sharing the common goal of advancing science.

Learn More @ Neuron

Overdue By More Than 120 Years, A Library Book Finally Finds Its Way Home

Most of us have probably had an overdue library book, but likely not 122 years overdue. This NPR article covers how the headmaster at Hereford Cathedral School received a package containing a copy of Walter Benjamin Carpenter’s The Microscope and Its Revelations that was originally checked out of the school library in 1894. Fortunately the library does not charge late fees.

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Researchers Rejuvenate Aging Mice with Stem Cell Genes

Here’s a news article from Science about recent research using stem cell genes to rejuvenate mice exhibiting symptoms of Hutchinson-Guilford Progeria Syndrome – a genetic disorder resulting in signs of premature aging. Activation of just four genes helped ameliorate several symptoms of old age – helping to thicken skin, reduce deterioration of the kidney and spleen, and improve cardiac function.

Learn More @ Science

Time-Lapse Revealing Surprisingly “Elegant” Water Patterns Of Starfish Larva Wins Nikon Small World In Motion Competition

Nikon Instruments Inc. today unveiled the winners of the sixth annual Nikon Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition, awarding First Place to William Gilpin of Stanford University for his video depicting an eight-week-old starfish larva churning the water around its body as it searches for food. Gilpin and his colleagues studied the starfish larva as a model system for how physics shapes evolution, and were surprised and intrigued that a common organism like a starfish could create such an intricate and unexpected pattern in the water.

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Practical Workshop on Advanced Microscopy

We hope everyone enjoyed the first day of the Practical Workshop on Advanced Microscopy held at the Nikon Imaging Center at Istituto Italiano Di Tecnologia. Attendees get hands-on experience with many cutting edge imaging technologies, including Nikon’s A1 confocal with spectral detection, N-SIM, N-STORM, and more. The workshop runs through Friday December 16th.

Learn More @ Nikon Imaging Center at Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

CryoEM structure of the Methanospirillum hungatei archaellum reveals structural features distinct from the bacterial flagellum and type IV pili

Check out this new article in Nature Microbiology detailing the structure of archaellum using cryo electron microscopy. Archaellum are analogous to bacterial flagella (driving cell motility), but found in Archaea. Researchers at UCLA used CryoEM to image archaellum at 3.4 angstrom resolution, finding significant structural differences compared to flagella.

Learn More @ Nature Microbiology

High-throughput Compound Evaluation on 3D Networks of Neurons and Glia in a Microfluidic Platform

Here’s an open-access article in Scientific Reports detailing a new method for co-culture of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived neurons and glial cells in a 96-well microfluidic platform designed for high throughput drug screening and personalized medicine selection. Cells are grown in a 3D extracellular matrix network so as to best mimic in vivo conditions.

Learn More @ Nature Scientific Reports

FAU Brain Institute Designated ‘Nikon Center Of Excellence’

Nikon is very excited that Florida Atlantic University at Jupiter Brain Institute is now home to the latest Nikon Center of Excellence, one of seven around the world. According to Randy Blakely, executive director of FAU's Brain Institute, "The establishment of a Nikon Center of Excellence at FAU brings a new level of imaging capability to our scientists and trainees, and links our community to prominent cell imaging centers at premier academic institutions and research centers around the world."

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ASCB Tech Talk - Dr. Steven Finkbeiner

We would like to invite The American Society for Cell Biology meeting attendees to join us for a Tech Talk by Dr. Steven Finkbeiner – “Using the Past to Predict the Future: Applications of High Throughput Longitudinal Single Cell Analysis to Discovery”. Dr. Finkbeiner will discuss the utility of Robotic Microscopy for longitudinal single cell imaging and analysis and how it can be used to produce quantitative and predictive models of biology. The Tech Talk will be held Tuesday December 6th in Theater 1, Room 102 of the Moscone Center from 12:00-12:45 PM. 

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Gephyrin-binding Peptides Visualize Postsynaptic Sites and Modulate Neurotransmission

Researchers have developed fluorescent cell-permeable “super-binding” peptides for specific labeling of gephyrin - a marker of the inhibitory postsynaptic density - demonstrating conventional and super-resolution imaging of inhibitory postsynaptic sites for the first time. These peptides also act as modulators of inhibitory neurotransmission. The authors hope to expand the desigin and use of fluorescent “super-binding” peptides to other cellular targets.

Learn More @ Nature Chemical Biology

Robotic Microscopy with the Nikon Ti2 for High-Content Analysis Applications

Check out our new application note in Nature Methods discussing how the Nikon Ti2 inverted research microscope is ideally suited to high content imaging applications. The unprecedented 25 mm field of view of the Ti2 (camera port) provides about a two-fold improvement in imaging area over its predecessor, drastically increasing system throughput and speeding up discovery.

Learn More @ Nature Methods

Researchers Put Mouse Embryos in Suspended Animation

Researchers from UCSF and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have succeeded in pausing the development of mouse blastocysts for up to one month via inhibition of the mTOR protein. Briefly paused embryos retained the ability to develop normally. This strategy also worked on cultured embryonic stem cells, inducing a pluripotent state that can last for weeks in vivo. Their research has implications in a variety of fields, including ageing, cancer, assisted reproduction, and more.

Learn More @ Medical Xpress

Adaptive Light-Sheet Microscopy for Long-Term, High-Resolution Imaging in Living Organisms

New research published in Nature Biotechnology details a method for optimizing spatial resolution during acquisition of light sheet microscopy data. An automated program corrects for mismatches between the plane of light sheet illumination and that imaged by the detection objective in real time, demonstrated by imaging of entire zebrafish and fly embryos. Imaging was performed using a Nikon 16x water-dipping objective.

Learn More @ Nature Biotechnology

Lasers + Anti-Lasers: Marriage Opens Door to Development of Single Device with Exceptional Range of Optical Capabilities

Lasers and… anti-lasers? Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have constructed a laser that also acts as an anti-laser. A laser emits coherent light - anti-lasers absorb coherent light. A single device that does both may seem paradoxical, but the authors believe the technology may be used to make high sensitivity light detectors, or even photonic integrated circuits. To learn more check out the Phys.org article.

Learn More @ Phys.org

See More Than Before with Nikon's Newest Inverted Microscope System

Introducing Nikon's latest imaging innovation- the Eclipse Ti2 Inverted Microscope System. The Ti2 raises the bar for core imaging capability, delivering an unprecedented 25mm field of view, as well as improved stability and usability. To learn more, visit www.seemorethanbefore.com and stop by Nikon's booth at the upcoming Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (Nov. 13-16).

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Super-Resolution Imaging of Fluorescently Labeled, Endogenous RNA Polymerase II in Living Cells with CRISPR/Cas9-mediated Gene Editing

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated super-resolution localization microscopy imaging of endogenous RNA Polymerase II in living cells. Labeling was performed using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing to add the photoconvertable fluorescent protein Dendra2. This method can in principle be used to label transcription factors for live cell super-resolution as well. Imaging was performed on a Nikon Ti inverted research microscope system with Perfect Focus. Check out the open access Scientific Reports article to learn more.

Learn More @ Nature Scientific Reports

Labeling Cellular Structures in vivo Using Confined Primed Conversion of Photoconvertible Fluorescent Proteins

Researchers at ETH Zürich have published a new method in Nature Protocols for axially confined photoconversion of the fluorescent protein Dendra2 in single cells – demonstrating the concept in developing zebrafish embryos. This method uses a specialized filter plate and the process of ‘primed conversion’ to convert Dendra2 to a red emitting form using 488 nm and 730 nm beams that intersect only at a common focal point.

Learn More @ Nature Protocols

Super-Resolution Dipole Orientation Mapping via Polarization Demodulation

A new open-access research article in the journal Light: Science & Applications details a new Fluorescence Polarization Microscope (FPM) design for super-resolution imaging of the dipole orientations of overlapping single fluorophores in sub-diffraction limited volumes. Using this new technique, they’ve demonstrated that the dipole of actin monomers is perpendicular to the actin filament, and radially distributed in septin complexes in live yeast cells. Imaging was performed on a Nikon Ti-E motorized inverted research microscope.

Learn More @ Light: Science & Applications

Bright Photoactivatable Fluorophores for Single-Molecule Imaging

Researchers at the Janelia Research Campus have developed new photoactivatable dyes for improved live cell single-particle tracking and localization microscopy experiments. The new photoactivatable dyes are derived from existing Janelia Fluor (JF) dyes - known for their increased brightness, photostability, small size, and cell permeability. To learn more, check out the article in Nature Methods.

Learn More @ Nature Methods

Microscopic Fish Face Takes First Place in 2016 Nikon Small World Competition

Nikon Instruments Inc. today announced the winners of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, awarding first place to Oscar Ruiz, Ph.D. for his microscopic view of the facial development of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. Fittingly, Nikon unveiled Dr. Ruiz’s zebrafish “selfie” win first on Instagram this morning, giving followers the first look at the winning images. The full winner gallery can now also be viewed on www.nikonsmallworld.com.

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Microenvironment Complexity and Matrix Stiffness Regulate Breast Cancer Cell Activity in a 3D in vitro Model

A new open access article in Scientific Reports details the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness in regulating breast cancer cell activity by testing cell growth on a variety of 2D and 3D substrates. Researchers found that the highest proliferation rates occurred in the softest 3D hydrogels tested – providing more evidence for the need of 3D culture systems recapitulating the native microenvironment in order to reveal disease-relevant phenotypes. Gels were imaged using a Nikon Eclipse Ni-U upright research microscope.

Learn More @ Nature Scientific Reports

Quantum-dot Solar Windows Evolve with 'Doctor-blade' Spreading

Many people in the microscopy world are familiar with quantum dots – semiconductor nanocrystals with well-defined light emitting properties – as fluorescent labels. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have demonstrated how quantum dot-based solar panels can be scaled up for practical use, large enough to be used as a building window when used in luminescent solar concentrators (LSC). Quantum dots in LSCs absorb photons and emit light at a lower energy, guided by total internal reflection to the edges of the device, where they are collected by photovoltaic cells.

Learn More @ PHYS.ORG

Scientists Bioprint Tubular 3-D Renal Architecture that Recapitulates Functions of the Kidney

A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard realized a major milestone in 3D bioprinting with the construction of a working proximal tubule – a key component of kidney nephrons – made of human epithelial cells. They hope to use these engineered tubules as models of human kidney function, providing a highly relevant system for pre-clinical drug response testing. 

Learn More @ Medical Xpress

iPSC-derived Cardiomyocytes Reveal Abnormal TGF-β Signalling in Left Ventricular Non-compaction Cardiomyopathy

New research in Nature Cell Biology details the application of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells differentiated into cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) to serve as a model system for studying left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC) – a common cardiomyopathy in children. Using iPSC-CMs helped researchers better understand the mechanisms underlying LVNC, who demonstrated treatment for reversing the disease phenotype. Imaging was performed in part using a Nikon Eclipse 80i upright research microscope.

Learn More @ Nature Cell Biology

A New Design for a Green Calcium Indicator with a Smaller Size and a Reduced Number of Calcium-binding Sites

A team of Russian researchers has introduced a new fluorescent calcium indicator for live cell imaging. The new indicator, NTnC, utilizes a modified version of the ultra-bright fluorescent protein mNeonGreen, with troponin C as the calcium-binding moiety. The performance of NTnC was validated against that of the widely used GCaMP6s calcium sensor in neurons, imaged using a Nikon Ti inverted research microscope. Check out the open access article in Scientific Reports to learn more.

Learn More @ Nature Scientific Reports

Anti-tubulin Drugs Conjugated to Anti-ErbB Antibodies Selectively Radiosensitize

A major problem in cancer treatment is the resistance of tumours to radiation therapy. Researchers at UC San Diego have developed a new drug for selectively sensitizing tumor cells to ionizing radiation, maximizing the effectiveness of radiation therapy while minimizing damage to healthy tissues. Imaging for this study was performed using a Nikon A1R confocal microscope. Check out the open access research article in Nature Communications to learn more.

Learn More @ Nature Communications

Glare-reducing Approaches Could Lead to a Type of Noise-canceling Camera for Microscopy, Astronomy Imaging

Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science have published a new method in the journal Optica for glare reduction. Glare happens when non-specific light obscures the object one is trying to look at. This new method uses a spatial light modulator to optimize a pattern for glare removal – drastically reducing background signal. In biological microscopy, this method is promising for imaging through thick and scattering structures, such as tissue. Check out the Phys.org article to learn more.

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Cell Painting, a High-Content Image-based Assay for Morphological Profiling Using Multiplexed Fluorescent Dyes

Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have published a new protocol in Nature Protocols detailing Cell Painting – a high content screening assay for evaluating about 1500 morphological features of single cells, including shape, texture, size, etc. Simple 6-color staining allows researchers to include organelle morphology in analysis, including the nucleus, mitochondria, and actin cytoskeleton. This protocol provides a powerful method for evaluating the effects of different chemicals on cells, including potential treatments for cancer. The CellProfiler analysis software is open source, so check it out!

Learn More @ Nature Protocols

Yoshinori Ohsumi Wins Nobel Prize In Physiology Or Medicine

Congratulations to Japanese biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology for winning the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Professor Ohsumi was awarded the Prize for his research in autophagy – a process whereby intracellular components are delivered to the lysosome for degradation and subsequent recycling. To learn more, check out the NPR article.

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First Evidence of Deep-Sea Animals Ingesting Microplastics

Recently published research in the journal Scientific Reports presents the first evidence of deep-sea organisms ingesting microplastics. Squat lobsters, sea cucumbers, and hermit crabs from the mid-Atlantic and southwest Indian Oceans were found to contain microbeads – small plastics commonly used in commercial cleaners and cosmetics. Different types of plastics were identified using a Nikon polarizing light microscope. Check out the Phys.org article to learn more.

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Nikon Single Molecule Imaging Contest Winners

We are proud to announce the winner of the Nikon Single Molecule Imaging Contest held during the 6th annual Single Molecule Localization Microscopy Symposium (SMLMS) at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Check out the first prize winning image here – a two color STORM image of fixed COS-7 cells stained for microtubules (green, Alexa 647 – alpha-tubulin) and mitochondria (red, Alexa 750 – TOMM-20). The winners will receive a Nikon D5500 digital SLR camera – congratulations!

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Self Driving Fish!

Here's a fun application for machine vision technologies - self-driving fish! The onboard camera analyzes the direction the fish is swimming and moves the vehicle accordingly. If only it could remember where it wanted to go...

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Parametric Analysis of Colony Morphology of Non-labelled Live Human Pluripotent Stem Cells for Cell Quality Control

Researchers working as part of the Stem Cell Evaluation Technology Research Center have introduced a non-invasive and image-based method for evaluating the quality of live human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) colonies over time. This method relies upon multiparametric analyses of cell morphology as detected using phase contrast optics, and was in agreement with gene expression profile data. Imaging was performed using a robotic Nikon BioStation CT incubation/microscope system. The Scientific Reports article is open access, so check it out!

Learn More @ Nature Scientific Reports

Computer Scientists Solve Mystery Of The Ein Gedi Scroll By 'Virtual Unwrapping'

Here’s an interesting article by NPR about how computer scientists at the University of Kentucky were able to read a scroll that was radiocarbon-dated to the 3rd-4th century CE. The catch? The age and damage to the scroll prevented it from being opened, so instead the researchers used non-invasive x-ray micro-computed tomography (microCT) to create a 3D image of the scroll from which they could reconstruct the text. Co-author Seth Parker hopes the method will be applied to other ancient texts, including those recovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Learn More @ NPR

Nikon Introduces New DS-Fi3 Microscopy Camera and DS-L4 Tablet Interface

We are excited to announce our newest imaging solution – the DS-Fi3 color camera and accompanying DS-L4 tablet controller. Excitingly, the DS-Fi3 communicates directly with the DS-L4 tablet, eliminating the need for a computer workstation. Images can be acquired using the tablet and shared directly over a Wi-Fi network or shared network drive. We hope this new duo will provide a versatile and user-friendly solution for imaging in today’s fast-paced mobile environment.

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Implantable Amyloid Hydrogels for Promoting Stem Cell Differentiation to Neurons

Researchers have developed a new type of hydrogel for growing stem cells and differentiating them into neurons. These amyloid hydrogels are based on the alpha-synuclein protein, and provide an excellent vehicle for cell replacement therapies, useful for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Cell and gel imaging was performed using a Nikon Eclipse Ti-U inverted research microscope. To learn more, check out the open access article.

Learn More @ NPG Asia Materials

Single Molecule Localization Microscopy Symposium

The 6th annual Single Molecule Localization Microscopy Symposium (SMLMS) at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has concluded. We are proud to sponsor such an amazing symposium focused on bringing researchers in the field of single molecule super-resolution imaging together.

Part of the SMLMS is the software challenge – where researchers compare algorithms and software packages for analyzing STORM-type single molecule datasets acquired under a variety of different conditions. Check out the video on the SMLMS YouTube Channel to see the results!

Learn More @ SMLMS epfl YouTube Channel

Quantum Mechanics Technique Allows for Pushing Past 'Rayleigh's Curse'

One of the greatest problems in microscopy is resolving two closely spaced objects as separate, with the minimum distance previously thought to be fundamentally-limited by the diffraction of light. However, new research from the National University of Singapore utilizes modern advances in quantum-information theory to extract even more information from detected light. This new optical method – spatial-mode demultiplexing (SPADE) – also utilizes a specialized multichannel detector for separating the detected light by mode, capable of super-resolution.

Learn More @ PHYS.ORG

Molecular Organization of the Desmosome as Revealed by Direct Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy

Researchers at Emory University University have characterized the organization of the desmosome using direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM). Desomosomes are macromolecular junctions providing cell-cell adhesion. Using multicolor dSTORM, the organization of desmoglein 3, plakoglobin, and desmoplakin was quantified in keratinocytes. dSTORM successfully resolved the separation between the inner and outer dense plaque proteins. Imaging was performed using a Nikon N-STORM microscope, with correlative imaging performed using the Nikon N-SIM E structured illumination system on the same stand.

Learn More @ Journal of Cell Science

Nobel Laureate Dr. Roger Tsien, Co-Developer of GFP Technology, Dies at 64

Dr. Tsien was a Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. He is perhaps best known for discovering and developing green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a genetically expressed biochemical marker for use in living systems, which lead to a revolution in biological imaging.

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Subatomic Microscopy Key to Building New Classes of Materials

We’re constantly amazed at the continuing advances in microscopy. Research at Penn State and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is pushing the resolving ability of electron microscopy to the tens of picometers – more than enough to see a single hydrogen atom. Such high power microscopes are a crucial tool for designing and building new materials, including specialized semiconductors, superconductors, and more. Check out the article to learn more.

Learn More @ PHYS.ORG

Team Makes Zika Drug Breakthrough

Here’s a great article about a collaborative research team from Florida State University, Johns Hopkins University, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) that has identified two different groups of drugs for the treatment of Zika. One group of drugs prevents the virus from replicating in humans and the other protects developing brain cells in newborns. The researchers hope that by using existing drugs they’ll be able to address this global health emergency without waiting years for new drugs to emerge from the development pipeline.

Learn More @ Medical Xpress

An Endosomal Tether Undergoes an Entropic Collapse to Bring Vesicles Together

The targeting of vesicles to the right target membrane is an early and important step in intracellular transport. New research has found that EEA1, a tethering protein that localizes to early endosomes, undergoes a conformational change from an extended form to a collapsed form upon interaction with Rab5:GTP. The change to the collapsed form provides force to pull the vesicle to the target membrane for docking and fusion. Confocal imaging was performed using a Nikon Ti-E inverted microscope with a Yokogawa CSU-X1 spinning disk, and super-resolution imaging with a Nikon N-STORM microscope.

Learn More @ Nature

New Method Creates Endless Supply of Kidney Precursor Cells

Scientists at the Salk Institute have achieved a major breakthrough in regenerative medicine – creating stable cultures of human kidney precursor cells for the first time. The cultured nephron progenitor cells (NPCs) can be used to grow replacement kidney tissue, both for research and therapeutic purposes. This approach could one day be used to grow entire human kidneys in the lab. Previous approaches used induced pluripotent stem cells, requiring time-consuming processes to make the same type of cells and with shorter shelf life.

Learn More @ Medical Xpress

Spider Silk: Mother Nature’s Bio-Superlens

Most of us are accustomed to glass lenses on our microscopes. But new research from Bangor University and University of Oxford shows that spider silk can be used as a superlens – a lens with resolving power exceeding what is possible with conventional optics. The new spiderlens provides a 2x improvement in resolution over what is normally possible. Excitingly, spider silk is also an incredibly cheap, abundant, and robust material.

Learn More @ Bangor University

Seeing Through to a Mouse’s Nervous System

Scientists have come up with a new method for rendering mice and other organisms transparent. Called uDISCO, this optical clearing method allows researchers to selectively highlight the inner workings of usually opaque organisms, lighting up the entire nervous system of a mouse for high-resolution single-cell fluorescence imaging. The authors believe the technique will one day be expanded from mice and rats to the mapping the entire human brain.

Learn More @ The New York Times

Bright Monomeric Near-infrared Fluorescent Proteins as Tags and Biosensors for Multiscale Imaging.

A new open-access paper in Nature Communications takes a closer look at near-infrared fluorescent proteins (IFPs) as optical markers and biosensors for multi-color and thick-specimen imaging. Near-infrared light is not as strongly scattered or absorbed by biological structures as visible wavelengths, making it ideal for deep tissue and in vivo imaging of larger organisms. The authors report 3 new IFPs, validating their utility for imaging, including multi-color Structured Illumination Microscopy with Nikon’s N-SIM system.

Learn More @ Nature Communications

Jellyfish Proteins Used to Create Polariton Laser

In other news this week, scientists are using jellyfish proteins to create tiny lasers. For decades jellyfish-derived GFP (green fluorescent protein) has served as a go-to tool for lighting up different parts of the cell. It turns out that the structure of GFP also makes it a great gain medium for polariton lasers - a special type of low energy laser. Also, unlike existing polariton lasers, the new GFP laser doesn't need to be heavily cooled, operating at room temperature.

Learn More @ PHYS.ORG

A Nanoscale Interface Promoting Molecular and Functional Differentiation of Neural Cells

Here’s a new open-access paper in Scientific Reports detailing the use of Hydrotalcite-like compounds (HTlc) as nanostructured interfaces that are biocompatible with astrocytes in vitro. The use of nanostructured interfaces allows researchers to exert control of cellular behavior at several different scales. HTlc films favor astrocyte differentiation by inducing vinculin polarization and F-actin fiber alignment. This was assessed in part by imaging immunofluorescence with Nikon ECLIPSE 80i and TE-2000U research microscopes.

Learn More @ Nature Scientific Reports

US Grants for Zebrafish Studies on the Rise

A new assessment by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Portfolio Analysis has found that the popularity of zebrafish as model organisms rose by approximately 60% from 2008 to 2015, marking a shift in model organism trends. This was determined by data mining of successful R01 awards from that period, which found zebrafish mentioned in over 9500 successful grant applications.

Learn More @ Nature

A Far-red Fluorescent Protein Evolved from a Cyanobacterial Phycobiliprotein

A team of researchers have developed a new far-red fluorescent protein (FP): smURFP. This new FP variant has 642 nm excitation and 670 nm emission peaks, an extinction coefficient of 180,000 M−1cm, quantum yield of 18%, and comparable photostability to EGFP. Previous FPs in this spectral class were based upon bacteriophytochromes, but smURFP is part of a new class of FPs evolved from an allophycocyanin alpha-subunit. Such far-red FPs are popular for imaging in live animals because of reduced scattering and absorption.

Learn More @ Nature Methods

Imaging the Brain at Multiple Size Scales

Over the past decade big advances have been made in optical ‪#microscopy‬ for seeing very small details. Recently, Expansion Microscopy has been introduced for imaging such fine detail by making small samples bigger. ‪MIT scientists use this new method to image entire tissues, such as whole mouse brains, by swelling them to over 4x their original size.

Learn More @ MIT News

NIH Plans To Lift Ban On Research Funds For Part-Human, Part-Animal Embryos

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is advancing a new policy to allow the use of federal money to make chimeras – organisms with two or more genetically distinct populations of cells, including those of different species. There are many possible applications for chimeras, including the use of part-human chimeras as animal models for disease. Extra care is being taken to try to address possible ethical concerns.

Learn More @ npr

Strain and Rate-dependent Neuronal Injury in a 3D in vitro Compression Model of Traumatic Brain Injury

Researchers at Brown University have developed a new in vitro model for assessing neuronal injury due to impact tissue strain, as experienced during traumatic brain injury. Injury is simulated in a 3D neuronal culture using a voice coil actuator mounted on a Nikon A1 confocal microscope, allowing for quantification of neuronal lifetime, pathomorphology, and viability with high spatiotemporal accuracy before, during, and after injury. The results are expected to be of high importance for developing future mitigation and diagnosis programs. Article is open access

Learn More @ Nature

Ultra-High Resolution 3D Imaging of Whole Cells

Check out this new open-access resource article from researchers at Yale University detailing a 4Pi single molecule localization microscope with isotropic localization precision of ~10-20 nm. Importantly this new nanoscope can be used to image samples up to 10 um thick, a significant improvement over previous two-objective localization microscopy approaches. This is made possible by using deformable mirrors to correct for depth-induced changes in the shape of the point-spread function.

Learn More @ Cell

An Optogenetic System for Photoinduced Protein Dissociation

A new method has been introduced for light-induced protein dissociation, termed LOVTRAP. This optogenetic approach uses a mutant z subunit of protein A, named Zdk, which binds to a light-oxygen-voltage-sensing domain (LOV2) with precise kinetics. Binding occurs in the dark, with over a 150-fold rise in the dissociation constant upon excitation with blue light. The authors demonstrate reversible sequestration of multiple proteins of interest (POI) to the mitochondrial outer membrane by anchoring LOV2 to mitochondria and fusing the POI to Zdk.

Learn More @ Nature Methods

Which Iconic Science Centers are also Pokémon GO Hot Spots?

Pokémon GO has been sweeping the world this past week. Here's a fun article in ‎Science Magazine detailing Pokémon hotspots at various iconic centers of science, including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Large Hadron Collider (it has also been confirmed that there are no Pokémon on the International Space Station). To this list we'd like to add the Dratini we found at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.

Learn More @ Science Magazine

New Partnership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

Nikon Instruments Inc. is proud to announce a new partnership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) – the world’s largest trade association for biotechnology companies, Pharma, CROs, academic institutions, and related organizations. As a supplier partner for the BIO Business Solutions program, Nikon will be able to quickly connect biotechnology companies with the imaging solutions they need. As the only contracted supplier for research microscope systems, members will benefit from Nikon’s outstanding service and support network, imaging technology, and exclusive pricing.

Wide Field-of-view, Multi-region, Two-photon Imaging of Neuronal Activity in the Mammalian Brain

Researchers have developed a multiphoton microscope that can image at cellular resolution over a field of view of nearly 10 square millimeters, about a 10-fold improvement over typical systems. By using two scanning beams, different regions can be scanned simultaneously. This approach was used to perform correlative calcium imaging of two different cortical visual areas in mice.

Learn More @ Nature Biotechnology

Expansion Microscopy

Researchers at MIT and Janelia Farms have developed a new method for performing Expansion Microscopy (ExM). Instead of crosslinking fluorescent labels to a swell-able polymer gel to expand the specimen, the new method works by crosslinking cellular protein instead. This allows researchers to use conventional labeling methods for ExM, including fluorescent protein (FP) expression (20 different FPs tested). This new method is validated for multicolor imaging with ~70 nm lateral resolution and using conventional fluorescence microscopes.

Learn More @ Nature Biotechnology

Stem Cell Crusader Sparks New Hope for Fighting Diabetes, Heart Disease

Here’s a great new article in Bloomberg about Japan’s booming regenerative medicine industry. When Kyoto University Professor Shinya Yamanaka won a Nobel Prize for pioneering research in stem cell biology four years ago, he probably didn’t realize the profound effect it would have on regenerative medicine investment in Japan. Now the nation is setting aggressive goals for becoming the world leader in the field, which is estimated to become a $950 million industry by 2020 in Japan alone. Stem cell products, such as regenerated skin and cartilage are already widely available, and lab-grown corneas, livers and other organs are on the horizon.

Learn More @ Bloomberg

Two-Photon Direct Laser Writing of Ultracompact Multi-Lens Objectives

A new process has been introduced using multiphoton lithography for 3D printing objectives with multiple lenses. These objectives measure only about 100 micrometers in each direction and are well corrected for several optical aberrations. This process is demonstrated for 3D printing an objective directly onto the end of an optical fiber, as well as an array of lenses directly onto a camera sensor. Potential applications include improved endoscopes, very small drones/robots with vision, and more. Imaging was performed using a Nikon Eclipse LV-100-DA industrial microscope

Learn More @ Nature

Microscopy Masters

Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute need your help! The project, termed 'Microscopy Masters', is recruiting citizen scientists to help mark protein locations in cryo-electron microscopy data. By combining many thousands of images of the same type of protein in different orientations, a near-atomic resolution 3D model can be produced. But automatic identification of proteins in image data by computers doesn't always work so well, so that's where you come in! Check out the website below to learn more and get started.

Learn More @ ZOONIVERSE

A Photoswitch Made Using Just One Photosensitive Molecule

Researchers from the US and China have succeeded in making a photoswitch with long-term stability (about 1 year) using a single photosensitive molecule. This is part of a long-term trend towards transmitting information using light rather than electricity, which is faster and allows for the use of smaller components. Exposure to visible light results in an open conformation, allowing the molecule to function as a conductor. Exposure to UV light results in a closed conformation that acts as an insulator.

Learn More @ phys.org

Nikon Small World Competition Judging

A huge thank you to our amazing panel of judges for the 2016‪ Nikon Small World‬ and ‪‎Small World in Motion‬ competitions: Florida State University's Eric Clark, It's Okay To Be Smart's Joe Hanson, National Geographic's Rachel Link, Northwestern University's Brian Mitchell, andNational Institutes of Health (NIH)'s Clare Waterman. We can't wait to announce the image winners in October and the video winners in December.

Researchers Demonstrate a 100x Increase in the Amount of Information that can be 'Packed Into Light'

A collaborative research team with members from South Africa and Tunisia have demonstrated a new strategy for increasing the bandwidth of light-based communication systems. Usually information is encoded in the color, polarization, phase, etc. But by using a digital hologram written into an LCD, the bandwidth of such communications systems is increased by 100-fold

Learn More @ phys.org

Meta-Lens Works in the Visible Spectrum, Sees Smaller than a Wavelength of Light

Researchers at Harvard have introduced a new compact planar metalens with performance approaching conventional glass lenses. The metalens consists of a planar array of nanometer-sized titanium dioxide pillars that act as waveguides, together forming a metasurface. Excitingly, this lens functions with high efficiency across the visible spectrum, at high resolution (NA = 0.8), and is cheap to manufacture. According to the authors, the small size of these new lenses is especially promising for wearable optics, such as contact lenses.

Learn More @ ScienceDaily

Quantitative Assessment of Fluorescent Proteins

A new article in Nature Methods: Quantitative assessment of fluorescent proteins, provides a large-scale head-to-head analysis of over 40 different fluorescent protein varieties with respect to important properties, including brightness, photobleaching, monomericity, and pH stability. Fluorescentproteins are important biomolecules for visualizing the dynamics of living systems, and this work highlights the performance of many of the best modern varieties.

Learn More @ Nature Methods

Stain-Free Histopathology by Programmable Supercontinuum Pulses

Researchers are exploring exciting new approaches towards histopathology. Instead of costly and disruptive conventional staining and sectioning procedures, a user-friendly multiphoton microscope design is applied to image fresh tissue only minutes after removal. The technique allows for high contrast multi-channel imaging, and is poised to greatly expedite pathology ‪work.

Learn More @ Nature Photonics

CLIP-170 Microtuble Found to Bind Tightly to Formins to Accelerate Actin Filament Elongation

New research elucidates a mechanism by which growing microtubule (MT) plus ends direct accelerated actin filament assembly, thus exerting control over actin network organization. The MT plus-end-associated protein CLIP-170 is found to strongly bind formins, thus stimulating elongation of actin filaments. Formins play an important role in the polymerization of actin, associating with the fast-growing (barbed) end of actin filaments. The authors observed the recruitment of CLIP170-mDia1 complexes to MT plus-ends by EB1, correlating with accelerated growth of actin filaments attached to the MT.

Learn More @ Phys.org

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