The Sound of Light

Juli 1, 2009

Together with his research team, Professor Vasilis Ntziachristos from the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, Germany and the Technical University Munich, Germany developed a new technology to make light audible. The technique, called multi-spectral opto-acoustic tomography (MSOT), combines light and ultrasound to visualize fluorescent proteins that are seated several centimeters deep into living tissue.
The researchers used a genetically modified adult zebra fish which carried fluorescent pigments in its tissue. They illuminated the fish from multiple angles using flashes of laser light that are absorbed by the fluorescent pigments in the fish. The pigments absorb the light, a process that causes slight local increases of temperature, which in turn result in tiny local volume expansions. This happens very quickly and creates small shock waves. In effect, the short laser pulse gives rise to an ultrasound wave that the researchers pick up with an ultrasound microphone. To analyze the resulting acoustic patterns, a computer is attached. The computer uses specially developed mathematical formulas to evaluate and interpret the specific distortions caused by scales, muscles, bones and internal organs to generate a three-dimensional image. In the future this technology may facilitate the examination of tumors or coronary vessels in humans.

Multi-spectral opto-acoustic tomography or MSOT allows the investigation of subcellular processes in live organisms.

Multi-spectral opto-acoustic tomography or MSOT allows the investigation of subcellular processes in live organisms.

International Light Scattering Colloquium

Juni 29, 2009

Wyatt Technology Corporation will host its 20th Annual International Light Scattering Colloquium (ILSC) on October 19-20, 2009 at the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara, California, US. The event will welcome an array of high-profile speakers including Nobel Prize winner, Professor Robert Grubbs. In conjunction with the 20th annual ILSC, Wyatt Technology will also be hosting an Eclipse Field Flow Fractionation – MALS Focus Meeting on October 21, 2009. In this meeting the application focus will be proteins, biopolymers and liposome/virus particles.

Light Microscopy Meets Structural Biology

April 21, 2009

A symposium with a focus on light microscopy and its application in structural biology, organized by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany will take place form June 22-23, 2009. The symposium aims to bring together structural biologists, cell biologists and light microscopy specialists to explore opportunities and requirements for structural biologists in using different light microscopy techniques and to foster interactions at the interface between structural biology and cell biology.

Planned sessions include:
– Imaging protein-protein interactions
– Protein dynamics
– Correlative light- electron microscopy
– Super-resolution techniques

Deadline for registration is May 3, 2009.

Heidelberg, Germany (source:

Heidelberg, Germany (source:

Workshop on Single Molecule Spectroscopy

März 26, 2009

For the 15th time now, PicoQuant is hosting the International Workshop on Single Molecule Spectroscopy and Ultrasensitive Analysis in the Life Sciences. The workshop will take place from Sep. 15-18, 2009 in Berlin-Adlershof, WISTA campus, Germany. Topics that will be covered during the talks and a poster session are: Fluorescence Lifetime Correlation Spectroscopy (FLCS), Pulsed Interleaved Excitation (PIE) and Stimulated Emission Depletion Spectroscopy (STED), two-photon excitation, new and robust fluorophores such as quantum dots, metalfluorophore interactions, analysis of living cells, investigation of protein folding and biological function studies of macromolecules and Foerster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET).

European Biophysics Congress

März 24, 2009

The 7th European Biophysics Congress will take place in Genoa, Italy from July 11-15, 2009. The congress is organized on behalf of the Italian Society of Pure and Applied Biophysics (SIBPA) and the European Biophysics Societies Association (EBSA). It address to representatives from academic and industrial institutions.

Conference topics include:

1. Single molecule biophysics
2. Lipid biophysics
3. Folding/unfolding of proteins
4. Multiscale simulation
5. Chromatin, nucleosomes and molecular machines
6. Glycobiophysics
7. Biomolecular self-assembly
8. Photosensory biophysics
9. Structure-function relationships (channels, pumps, exchangers)
10. Live cell imaging
11. Protein-ligand interactions
12. Membrane microdomains and signalling
13. Biological motility and molecular motors
14. Interaction and recognition of DNA
15. Biomaterials and drug delivery
16. Single molecule fluorescence
17. Imaging and spectroscopy
18. Fluorescent proteins
19. Solar energy conversion and photosynthesis
20. Statistical, soft matter and biological physics
21. Condensed colloidal phase in biology
22. Ion channels in channelopathies and cancer
23. RNA world
24. Stem cells


Improving Drug Design

März 6, 2009

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has patented an improved microscopy method for measuring proteins to help scientists creating new pharmaceuticals for targeted proteins. The method, called Differential Aberration Correction (DAC) microscopy, measures distances at the molecular level in two and three dimensions using conventional fluorescence microscopy.

The leader of CSIRO’s Biotech Imaging team, Dr. Pascal Vallotton, says DAC microscopy measures distances a million times smaller than a tape measure can – in nanometers rather than millimeters. “We want to use our technique to measure accurate dimensions of proteins called membrane receptors. These proteins sit on cell boundaries, acting as gate-keepers, and they represent a class of biomolecules targeted by over 50% of pharmaceuticals”, he says. DAC microscopy is an improvement on an older technology, called FRET. Compared to FRET, DAC measures 1-250 nanometers, giving a more complete picture of drug-membrane receptor interactions. It will complement other techniques like X-ray crystallography. The DAC software was recently demonstrated in the US and will be presented at the Society for Biomolecular Screening conference in Lilles, France in April.

Fluorescence microscopy image of 100nm microspheres used to develop the DAC microscopy method.

Fluorescence microscopy image of 100nm microspheres used to develop the DAC microscopy method.