Working in the Hugh Piggins laboratory at the University of Manchester, Dr. Mino Belle, research associate, is focused on the mechanisms of biological timing. The group's research is directed at determining the neurochemical events that underlie the synchronization of behavior with cyclical variation in the environment.
Concentrating on the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), which is the master clock responsible for controlling circadian rhythms in the body, their goal is to look at the specific and global electrical output of this region in the brain. The team's research will lead to both a greater understanding of how the SCN output changes during a 24 hour period and how neurons communicate with one another.
The team faced many imaging challenges due to the rapid speed in which neurochemical events occur. In addition, the signal needed to measure events was very low. To successfully capture the data correctly, the electrophysiology system required a camera that could provide the sensitivity needed, as well as the ability to run several hundred frames per second.
Initially, the Evolve 128 EMCCD camera was recommended to the group by Cairn Research, a company that specializes in scientific imaging. Once seeing how the camera performed in a demonstration, the team was positive it met all the requirements for their research.
Now using the camera for some time, they found the camera's speed, sensitivity and clarity of signal have all met their expectations. They can now detect and measure rapid signals without significantly bleaching the fluorescent signals. This allows prolonged interrogation of biological samples without compromising the quality of the data.
Dr. Mino Belle explains, "The Evolve 128's extreme sensitivity and fast read out enables us to detect very small changes in the fluorescence signal within the cells of the SCN." When asked to summarize his experience, he shared, "I can summarize my experience with Photometrics' cameras in one word — Brilliant!"
Images show calcium responses to the agonist AMPA in cultured cells from the visual cortex.
Additional information about the Manchester Faculty of Life Sciences is available at: http://www.ls.manchester.ac.uk/research/