Electron imaging

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Electron Microscopy can provide up to (sub)nanometer scale ultrastructural information. It has been an invaluable tool for decades in Biomedical / life science research and provided to a large extent the knowledge we nowadays have about cells.

More and more, Biomedical research uses a combination of different microscopy techniques, the most well known currently being Correlative Light Electron Microscopy (CLEM). The remit of the Electron Microscopy Working Group starts with this CLEM cross-over into light microscopy [(http://www.bioimaginguk.org/index.php/Higher_optical_spatial_resolution)], includes both Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy, and ends at studying molecules in cells and organelles where we move into and interact with the INSTRUCT initiative [(http://www.instruct-fp7.eu/)] which is focussing on structural Electron Microscopy. All the possibilities in between, fall within our remit.

Whereas there is a huge effort to increase the resolution in both Light and Electron microscopy there is also a continuing interest in Electron Microscopy techniques that require different properties than the highest possibilities. Examples of this are immuno localisation and elemental composition inside cells.

We have identified 4 major areas within the Biomedical sciences research field where Electron Microscopy plays a vital role:

  • (pre-)clinical research
  • Cell Biology
  • Biomaterials
  • Nanobiology

The Electron Microscopy Working Group aims at:

1. Providing an overview of the current possibilities in the UK for Biomedical Electron Microscopy.

2. Analyse the future needs for the different Biomedical Electron Microscopy techniques.

3. Provide a platform for discussion about those possibilities and needs.

Electron Microscopy discussed at 2nd Eurobioimaging Stakeholders meeting, 20 + 21 October 2010, Vienna, Austria: Within the work package ALM, access to innovative technologies (http://www.eurobioimaging.eu/?q=node/111), electron microscopy was suggested as one of the missing techniques that could be included in this work package. There was quite some discussion whether this was appropriate as EM is also covered in the ESFRI INSTRUCT initiative (http://www.instruct-fp7.eu/). CLEM and Electron Tomography were highlighted as specialised techniques that have a potential to be included within Eurobioimaging (CLEM is already in there). "Standard" EM is probably more appropriately included in work packages concerning general access, sustainablility etc.


Jemima Burden, Raffaella Carzaniga, Jeremy Skepper and Paul Verkade


14th December 2009: JB, RC and PV met to discuss strategies for increasing the awareness of Euro-Bioimaging, BioImagingUK within the EM community.

16th December 2009: JB presented an overview of Euro-Bioimaging, BioImagingUK at the annual Society of Electron Technology meeting held in London.

25th January 2010: JB, RC and JS met to discuss mechanisms of engaging the EM community and to determine the best strategy to be able to start discussions and begin to assess the EM community’s needs. We all agreed a discussion platform and workshop would be a good start to discuss the next stages, and are in the process of organising this.

10th May 2010: JB, RC, PV and JS met to discuss the design of a first round questionnaire to go out to EM unit heads to begin to assess current and future facility resourcing.

20 + 21 October 2010: PV attended the 2nd Eurobioimaging stakeholders meeting in Vienna, Austria. ELECTRON MICROSCOPY was discussed as part of Work Package ALM access to Innovative Technologies (http://www.eurobioimaging.eu/?q=node/111).

30 + 31 January 2012: PV attended the 3rd Eurobioimaging stakeholders meeting in Heidelberg, Germany. EM was briefly discussed but no major changes from previous meetings.

2 + 3 July 2012: PV, JB, RC, Lucy Collinson, and Helen Saibill were representing the Biomedical EM community within the BioimagingUK meeting in London. A summary was made from the break out session (2 pages uploaded: http://www.bioimaginguk.org/index.php/File:BioImagingUK_EM_breakout1.jpg, http://www.bioimaginguk.org/index.php/File:BioImagingUK_EM_breakout2.jpg) A first draft of a National EM road map was put together from this summary. This draft (see below in resources) will be discussed at a special break out session at EMC2012, september 2012 in Manchester.

19 september 2012: EM community meeting at EMC2012 in Manchester to discuss the roadmap document. A little over 20 people were present throughout the meeting, including representatives from industry. PV, JB, RC, and LC were present from the EM workgroup. Following a good discussion a new proposal was sent around to the scientists present at the meeting and people who had expressed interest.

1 october 2012: The UK EM roadmap (see resources below) was submitted to Jason Swedlow to be incorporated into the BioimagingUK strategy document. This incorporates the suggestions made after the EMC meeting.

19 december 2012: PV presented Eurobioimaging, BioimagingUK, and the EM roadmap [[1]]at the annual SEMT [2] meeting in London. There was particular interest from the "clinical" EM community how they fit into BioimagingUK and the funding schemes. This is an item for further discussion.


SEMT Christmas Meeting presentation on BioImagingUK – EM, in pdf format [3]

Draft of EM roadmap for discussion at EMC2012, in PDF format [4]

Submitted version of EM roadmap, in PDF format [5]

PDF file of PVs presentation at the 2012 SEMT meeting [6]

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