30 Mar 2023
Microscopy platforms and expertise at the Centre will be available to researchers and companies.BioImaging Centre (BIC) within the university's Technical Medical Centre, where BIC will act as the medical center's core facility for microscopy.
The intention is for the BIC to also provide both microscopy equipment and expertise to other researchers at the University of Twente and to the business community.
Opened officially on March 30th 2023, the principal instrumentation available at the BIC will include confocal fluorescence and Raman microscopes, plus a TomoCube HT-X1 system used to create 3D images of cells.
"We specialize in the imaging of living cells, from making the cells and culturing them, through to imaging them," said Ivo Vellekoop, co-founder of the BIC, promoting the center's opening. "The BIC has state of the art commercial imaging equipment and data analysis software, on top of which we can also provide experimental microscopy."
A Zeiss confocal microscope is available at the BIC, with additional cell incubation capability to allow confocal imaging of cells over long periods of time. The site's two-photon fluorescence microscope is also available to researchers.
Wavefront shaping, a long-standing research topic for Ivo Vellekoop, is another specialism at the Centre, tying in with Twente's expertise in organ-on-chip technology. This field involves creating both natural and engineered miniature tissues within microfluidic chips, as lab models of real-world biological systems.
A range of imaging methods can be used for the monitoring of organ-on-chip devices, although directly transferring microscopy methods from existing microfluidic imaging platforms is unlikely to meet the more complex demands of the on-chip structures. The BIC's work on wavefront shaping technology is intended to help meet the specific imaging challenges involved.
Tailored imaging for specific cells
The Centre will be home to the first TomoCube HT-X1 platform in the Netherlands, which will be used to create 3D images of living cells without the need for staining or labeling. TomoCube was developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), as a platform for high-resolution tomographic microscopy.
The TomoCube platform is designed to capture multiple 2D holograms of a cell, by employing various angles of laser illumination to capture 48 individual 2D data sets. From these the 3D distribution of cell refractive index (RI) can be reconstructed, with the 3D RI map indicating structural and chemical information about the cell mass, morphology, protein concentration, and the dynamics of the cellular membrane.
"The goal of the BioImaging Centre is to bring together the strengths of the University of Twente," said Ivo Vellekoop. "Not only in cell cultures but also the organ-on-chip efforts, where you can have very complex structures which are hard to make but perhaps even harder to image. Instead of just providing state of the art imaging, we also want to tailor the imaging to the specific cells."