Connectivity WG 4th FMM

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Connectivity breakout session at the Facility Managers Meeting Edinburgh University, January 2011

Present: Lucy Collinson, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, EM Unit (Chair); Peter March, Manchester University, BioImaging Facility; Sam Swift, Dundee University, CHIPS and LMF; Tim Self, Nottingham University

Connectivity encompasses three main areas:

1) Connecting people and expertise across the UK BioImaging community.

2) Facilitating access to equipment across the UK BioImaging community.

3) Connecting equipment and expertise to enable ‘Patient-to-Protein’ imaging across scales.

The meeting began with an overview of previous Connectivity Workgroup discussions. The aim of this breakout session was to work out how to progress the following action points:

1) Gather a comprehensive list of imaging techniques, standard and novel.

2) Gather a list of probes (particularly those with multiple contrast mechanisms e.g. USPIO's that are MRI contrast agents and are electron dense) and a list of label-free techniques used in all imaging modalities.

3) Gather a list of key publications on correlative imaging.

4) Organise a one day symposium to bring together experts in all aspects of correlative imaging. Format suggestions include food and wine/ speed dating/ lightening talks.

5) Approach RMS about organising a series of lectures on different aspects of biomedical imaging.


The creation of a virtual microscopy network could start to address many of the above action points. This could be achieved by setting up a BioImaging UK website which would host a range of information and facilitate connectivity within the UK community. Experts in each field could contribute to the site. The website content could include…

- A comprehensive list of Bioimaging techniques.

- A list of probes used in different imaging modalities, highlighting those that can be detected in multiple imaging modalities for correlative microscopy. Entries could include comments and an Amazon-style ‘star’ rating for experienced users to rate the use of probes on different samples.

- A link to the list of UK Biological Imaging Facilities hosted by the University of York.

- ‘How-to’ movies made by the community, starting with light microscopy and electron microscopy and expanding to include biolmedical imaging. This could include sample preparation tips and tricks, maintenance and alignment of equipment, use of imaging platforms and image analysis tools. There could also be a collection of links to commercial instructional movies. For minor individual effort there would be a large return for the whole imaging community.

- A central repository for protocols.

- A list of facilities willing and able to host one-to-one training in sample preparation, imaging and/ or image analysis. Funding may be required to allow facilities to host training. It may also be of benefit for the training to be recognised as individual modules in an overall imaging qualification, which may help facilities justify the time spent training and learning.

- A list of upcoming talks and meetings with links to live broadcasts and webinars.

- An online forum for connecting biologists and imaging technologists with chemists, mathematicians, image analysts, physicists, engineers etc for problem solving and development.

- Industry could be involved by providing sponsorship for the web page in return for links to their websites and by contributing links to training videos.

- A list of community-owned equipment which could be loaned for short periods of time. This would require agreement from the funding bodies and manufacturers in terms of insurance/ coverage by service contracts for moving equipment.

Other discussions included

- The use of PhD CASE studentships for development of imaging technology.

- Opening the facility managers meeting to any community where images are the readout.

- Research councils having a central repository of imaging equipment which can be loaned out, particularly for live cell imaging.


- SS to provide a figure showing the different imaging modalities as a seed for information.

- LC to look into funding for a web programmer to set up a BioImaging UK website with downloadable docs, videos, profiles, training etc., to be coordinated with Jason Swedlow.

- LC, SS and PM to trial VIVO for online conferencing with multiple people. Could be useful for hosting small, regular workgroup meetings.

- Community to submit training videos to LC. A list of those contributing and their chosen topics will be updated below, prior to the creation of the website. Please encourage your colleagues to contribute. A ‘one take’ policy may be useful! If you have any advice on movie-making please submit this to LC for inclusion below. Useful links for videos include the Molecular Expressions website, Media Cybernetics training videos (James Francis), Camtasia software for recording desktops.

- Current Facility Managers Meeting invitees to pass on information to other imaging communities, who should register their interest with LC to be included in the emails for next year’s meeting.

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