Researchers in Sydney Blaze ahead with world-leading microscope technology

In summary: 
  • UTS has installed next-generation super-resolution imaging technology allowing scientists to record dynamic events inside living cells at near-video rates
  • The joint investment of $400,000 by UTS and NSW Trade & Investment will advance national and international collaborations in science and medical research

The world's first system for studying the cell biology of living microorganisms at super-resolution has been installed at the University of Technology, Sydney, promising new insights into the behaviour of infectious diseases.

UTS is the world first commercial site for the next generation DeltaVision OMX Blaze super resolution imaging system – a device capable of capturing real-time multiple colour images of interactions between micro organisms and living cells.

Its installation in the Microbial Imaging Facility (MIF) of UTS's i3 Institute has been made possible by a $400,000 joint investment with NSW Trade & Investment's Office for Science and Research, with access to its groundbreaking capabilities to be offered to scientists and research organisations in Sydney and further afield.

Professor Ian Charles, Director of the i3 Institute, said UTS was playing a pioneering role in proving the new microscopy technology in Australia and internationally, both with the predecessor OMX 3D SIM device and the new OMX Blaze. Both systems were developed and manufactured in the United States by Applied Precision, a GE Healthcare Company.

"This new imaging platform is truly amazing. We are at the forefront of being able to actually see infectious disease processes at sub-micron level resolution level, in living cells," Professor Charles said.

"This will enable research aimed at better understanding how microorganisms such as malaria, bacteria and viruses cause infection and has the potential to help develop treatments for life-threatening diseases."

Dr Lynne Turnbull discusses the capabilites of the OMX Blaze with NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Stoner

Aside from UTS research in the areas of infectious diseases and biofilms, the MIF also has collaborative research programs with a number of universities and laboratories in Australia and overseas. Earlier this year scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and UTS published data that captured malaria parasites in the act of invading red blood cells.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Stoner, said the commissioning of the OMX Blaze positioned NSW at the very forefront of scientific imaging research.

"Researchers at UTS are the first in the world to access this technology," Mr Stoner said.

"NSW has world-class universities and research institutes, and the fact that UTS secured the opportunity to become the world-first commercial site for this technology speaks volumes about the calibre of research undertaken at the university.

"It will help secure national and international collaborations in science and medical research for NSW and will attract increased investment to the State," he said.

UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Attila Brungs said the NSW Government's investment in the upgraded Microbial Imaging Facility would pave the way to insights that "have simply never been possible before."

"We are keen to foster collaborative partnerships with other leading academic centres and industry to ensure this is an investment that delivers real breakthroughs for Australia," Professor Brungs said.

The following two short videos were generated from the output of the OMX Blaze by Associate Professor Cynthia Whitchurch and Dr Lynne Turnbull.

The cells in our body that recognise micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses are called macrophages. They help fight off infection by engulfing and "eating" micro-organisms. In this movie, we show a macrophage cell with its membranes stained green engulfing red virus-sized particles (100 nm glass beads the same size as viruses). The playback speed is 180-times real-time. It would not have been possible to follow these processes in such fine 3D detail without the new OMX Blaze technology

Lysosomes are organelles within our cells that break down other worn-out organelles, digest food particles and destroy engulfed bacteria and viruses. This movie shows the dynamic movement of individual lysosomes within a cell. This movie of 3D images was captured using the next generation imaging technology OMX Blaze. It is played back 30 times faster than real-time. These images of living cells could not have been previously seen in such fine three dimensional detail as the capture rate is faster than currently possible with any other super resolution imaging technology

I am very interest by the new OMX Blaze technology.
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