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"The 'Barcelona Super-Resolution Light Nanoscopy Alliance (SLN@BCN)' has been born"


Tue, 31/08/2010 - 17:23

"The 'Barcelona Super-Resolution Light Nanoscopy Alliance (SLN@BCN)' has been born"


The SLN@BCN is an initiative of the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) which encourages research into and use of technology in the field of high resolution advanced microscopy and nanoscopy applied to biomedicine.

Two of the most prominent research centres in Catalonia have joined forces in this initiative which will enable Catalonia and Spain to participate in the European Euro Bioimaging project.

The Barcelona Super-Resolution Light Nanoscopy Alliance (SLN@BCN) is an initiative promoted, coordinated and organised by the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), centres associated with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the Pompeu Fabra University, respectively. In the future, it is hoped that other centres and bodies will join this initiative and so convert it into a multidisciplinary centre combining diverse scientific disciplines, such as biology, medicine, photonics, engineering, information technology, biochemistry and nanotechnology, among others, in a unique way. The joint work of all of these disciplines is oriented towards the improvement, knowledge of and exploitation of the techniques and application of high resolution microscopy.

The SLN@BCN initiative will encourage the application and development of new high resolution optical microscopy techniques including the super-resolution visualisation of cells and living organisms.

Specifically, the core and principal objectives of SLN@BCN are:

  • To offer service and access to the state of the art facilities already existing in the ICFO and the CRG. In this way there will be more users able to benefit from the latest technology found in these centres in order to launch new biomedical applications.
  • To train new users and make the techniques and high resolution optical microscopy equipment available to researchers be it at a specific level for projects or particular necessities, or at a general level for official local or European Masters.
  • To research biophotonics and nanophotonics for the development of new techniques to push the boundaries with relation to the spatial and temporal limits of resolution. To continue the lines of investigation which the ICFO already leads, focusing on the needs of the SLN@BCN project.
  • To open up the newly developed technology to Catalan and Spanish institutions. SLN@BCN wishes to encourage the use of nanoscopy techniques in research centres, hospitals and universities. The great variety of techniques which high performance microscopy offers and the adaptive capacity of these to any biological problem make this technology very useful for a wide range of research groups and laboratories.
  • To encourage enterprise and innovation through the protection and use of the techniques and technologies developed by the SLN@BCN brand. SLN@BCN will actively protect this potential through Catalan and Spanish business initiatives.

An example of teamwork

The coming together on this occasion of the ICFO and the CRG is an example of the maturity of some of the recently created research centres in Catalonia. Both centres already have an internationally recognised level of excellence and their joint work is of benefit to both research and the national scientific community through the use of resources, experts and knowledge.

The ICFO contributes access and experience in the different methodologies of the most advanced optical imaging techniques, in addition to its experience in the development of new techniques based in nanoscopy. The centre is a world leader in multimodal imaging techniques and nanoscopy, as well as the combination of these with nanosurgery techniques.

The CRG brings the application of this technology directly to biomedicine and the special requirements of the investigators. The centre currently enjoys the Advanced Optical Microscopy Unit which has one of the best confocal microscopy units in Europe and continually tries to adapt the opportunities which this equipment offers to the needs of the researchers.

The collaboration between these two centres, and others which will join the initiative in the future, is favourable to and significantly accelerates the development of technology as well as broadening the range of applications. Among other challenges which the investigators hope to resolve thanks to SLN@BCN, is the study of complex samples such as thick tissue or the development of fast methods of obtaining images from living samples.

“The super-resolution biomedical imaging which the initiative instigates will result in great technological innovation and economic impact”, explains Lluís Torner, the director of the Institute of Photonic Sciences. “SLN@BCN is open to all of the community and will be the basis for creating a node of advanced imaging for the European Euro Bioimaging project”, points out Torner.

“A few years ago, we couldn’t have imagined that today, in Catalonia, we would be enjoying initiatives like the SLN@BCN. New and powerful research centres such as the ICFO and the CRG together with equipment such as the ALBA synchrotron or the Supercomputing centre or sequencing platform of the National Genome Analysis Centre (CNAG) are essential for the economic development of the country and give Catalonia its place in the Europe of Knowledge”, declares Miguel Beato, the director of the Centre for Genomic Regulation.

Interesting links:
Institute of Photonic Sciences
Centre for Genomic Regulation
European Euro Bioimaging project