Building a bespoke bioluminescence microscope

Share |
Posted on 17 February 2017

Professor Melissa Mather’s research group has constructed a tailor-made bioluminescence microscope for another team in the Research Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine.  Emily Crowley, a postdoctoral research associate in Dr Alan Richardson’s group, needed real-time imaging to measure autophagy in cells. Commercial quotations for very sensitive optical systems to achieve this were about £150,000. Instead, Melissa’s team, Josh Price and Simon Levett calculated which lenses would work best and put together a microscope from parts in their lab, and this week it produced the first images for Emily’s project. Not only has the new equipment saved money, but Dr Alan Richardson believes there is particular biological significance in the findings from the home-built microscope. Now the prototype works, Melissa Mather’s team will refine and optimise the system.

The photograph shows the moment of the first results in the laser lab at the Guy Hilton Research Centre, studied by (left to right) Josh Price, Emily Crowley, Alan Richardson and Melissa Mather.