Detection and illumination objectives of the OPTiSPIM1 focused on a cleared biological sample encased in agarose and immersed in BABB for 3D imaging.

Detection and illumination objectives of the OPTiSPIM1 focused on a cleared biological sample encased in agarose and immersed in BABB for 3D imaging. Credit: Mesoscopic Imaging Facility/EMBL

The Mesoscopic Imaging Faciltiy provides microscope access and support services to enable 3D imaging of biological tissues over time.

Mesoscopic imaging involves looking at details of biological systems in the context of an organ, body part, or organism. It’s an approach that recognises that a heart, an arm or a fish is more than just a set of cells. In any tissue, organ or body part, cells are arranged in specific ways, forming complex, functional structures. They respond to each other, and in some cases even move together. Mesoscopic imaging allows scientists to record, track and study how they do so. To do this we require specially designed technology, as most microscopes are developed for looking at single cells, or small groups of cells. We work with techniques such as Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM) and Optical Projection Tomography (OPT), which combine the ability to capture fine details with the capacity to study relatively large samples for extended periods of time.

The Mesoscopic Imaging Facility was created at EMBL Barcelona to enable imaging specialised to the study of tissue biology. The facility is located in the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), alongside EMBL Barcelona’s independent research groups. Through collaborations with in-house and visiting scientists, it provides access to mesoscopic imaging technologies specifically designed for research in developmental biology and disease modelling.

We are an interdisciplinary, international team, with research backgrounds in biology, engineering and physics. We provide state-of-the-art imaging facilities to scientists worldwide.

The Mesoscopic Imaging Facility is situated in close proximity to the Advanced Light Microscopy Unit (ALMU) of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), which can be advantageous for projects that require non-mesoscopic imaging modalities. We also benefit from collaborations with other pioneering research institutes, both on campus and in the region.

Services provided

  • Light-sheet microscopy
  • Optical projection tomography (OPT)
  • Project planning, sample preparation, microscope training, and image processing and visualisation