Antwerp Centre for Advanced Microscopy
High impact science through systematic and quantitative imaging
Extra- and intracellular vesicles
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) allows studying the ultrastructure of biological samples at the nanometre scale. ACAM has also implemented methods for investigating small particles with a minimum of artefacts (cryo-TEM) and in 3D (tomography) by means of high-pressure freezing (HPF)/freeze substitution (FS) for the best preservation of the ultrastructure in samples and the latest ultramicrotome for perfect sectioning.
Structure of nano carriers
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) allows studying the topology of biological samples at the nanometre scale such as nano carriers
Gene expression in micro-environments
To enable molecular interrogation of precisely defined regions within a tissue section, ACAM offers state-of-the-art laser microdissection technology. Cut and paste regions as small as single cells into a separate container for downstream analyses (e.g. qPCR).
Cyclic staining allows multiplexing many markers by alternating staining and imaging with chemical- and/or photo- inactivation or elution of fluorophores.
Profiling of synaptic connectivity
Using a combined strategy of morphological and functional imaging approaches, a neuronal connectivity profile of primary and iPSC derived cultures is made. This workflow can help to identify potential novel biomarkers or drug targets with relevance for neurodevelopmental disorders.
Cell phenotypic profiling
Cell profiling is a flagship technology of the core facility. The term refers to the combination of high-throughput microscopy (i.e., automated image acquisition to capture large image data sets) and high-content image analysis (i.e. exhaustive feature extraction, yielding high information content). This technology is exploited in the context of cell-based assays as well as slide screening (e.g. virtual pathology).
Whole brain staging of proteinopathies
Many neurodegenerative diseases are typified by molecular infectivity, with aggregates spreading through interconnected neuronal networks. Our expertise in chemical clearing allows to visualise the intact neurodegenerative brain using light sheet microscopy, making it possible to monitor the spatiotemporal spreading pattern of pathological aggregates and associated neurodegenerative features.
Cell states in cerebral organoids
The cerebral organoid is an emerging model system with high potential for both fundamental and applied neuroscience research. We are developing a pipeline that enables unbiased cellular phenotyping of intact cerebral organoids by using a combination of multiplex fluorescent labelling, light-sheet microscopy, and deep learning.
Unravelling the enteric nervous system
Our clearing strategies can also be applied to other organs (e.g. gut) to visualize entire tissue structures.