The Imaging Support Facility: ALEMBIC (Advanced Light and Electron Microscopy Bio Imaging Center)
Principal Investigator: F. Grohovaz, Milan (IT)
Co-principal Investigator: D. Dunlap, Milan (IT)
ALEMBIC is intended to be a resource for the Consortium scientific community by providing access to sophisticated imaging techniques that are becoming increasingly important in biomedical research. ALEMBIC is organized to provide both service and innovation through the efforts of a small staff. Generous resources are being allocated to satisfy the imaging requirements of researchers in the San Raffaele Scientific Institute located in Milan (IT). The facility is designed to accommodate researchers from within and outside the Institute by providing instrumentation and instructing them in the most effective use of it, so that they may perform experiments independently. This is particularly true for access to optical microscopes for which interested people are required to attend an introductory course taught by the ALEMBIC staff before being authorized to use the instrumentation. Due to the extreme sophistication and cost of the equipment associated with electron microscopy, more detailed instruction is necessary and that requires significant commitment by both the staff and the interested researchers. Besides its intrinsic value, the research activity of the staff is expected to promote technical updates on a regular basis to keep the local facilities on the forefront of available technology.
The Consortium imaging Facility will provide local "photomanipulative" technologies that can either measure or perturb regional processes and will thus complement the probes just described. There are several such technologies. Photobleaching measures local dynamics and the source of localized material. Photoactivation measures the fates of molecules originating at a specific locus; moreover, it can also be used to locally activate or inactivate key molecular components involved in migration. Chemical-assisted-laser-inactivation complements both of these as it can be used for local inactivation. The Imaging Facility will provide state of the art imaging facilities designed to exploit the new advances in imaging, provide expertise and coordinate the Consortium's imaging needs with respect to hardware and software. It will also develop new strategies for photoactivation, measuring dynamics and organization, and imaging migration in situ.