ASCB 2014 Roundup

I just got back from the 2014 ASCB meeting, where I primarily talking to vendors.  I thought I’d share a few of the things that caught my eye:

  • Both Nikon and 3i are selling SPIM microscopes using the diSPIM system from ASI. 3i also will be selling the lattice light sheet system from Eric Betzig’s group (they have a sublicense from Zeiss).
  • KeraFAST is a new company designed to distribute materials produced by research labs. They are sort of like an Addgene for reagents beyond just plasmids. For instance, they have a number of labeling reagents published by various labs.
  • Mad City Labs has the RM21 microscope, which is an objective mount and stage on a rigid frame with regularly space holes for mounting optical cage systems or other components.
  • TAG optics has a fast focal scanning lens using standing acoustic waves to change the refractive index of a liquid.
  • Chromotek sells single chain alpaca antibodies, including anti-GFP and RFP antibodies, and ones that can be expressed in vivo to bind to cellular structures.
  • Nanolive has an interesting quantitative phase tomography microscope that allows mapping of refractive index of a cell in three dimensions, potentially allowing segmentation of organelles and other cellular structures without staining.
  • I heard about Gattaquant, a company selling test targets for super-resolution microscopes, from Nikon.
  • The Allen Institute for Cell Science is getting started, and is hiring.


Some of you probably noticed that this blog was down for the last week. Unfortunately our server died right before Thanksgiving and I only now got it back up.  Please let me know if you encounter any problems with it.

To make up for the absence of the blog, I’ll share with you a cool movie we’ve just taken in the NIC. This is single particle tracking PALM or sptPALM [1] of the dopamine receptor labeled with mEos2.  Here, we’re imaging with pretty strong 561 nm illumination and very weak 405 nm illumination, so we’re continuously converting mEos2 molecules to the red state and imaging them until they bleach. Using this methodology we can track many different individual receptors over a long time and see how the population behavior changes when we stimulate the receptor.


  1. S. Manley, J.M. Gillette, G.H. Patterson, H. Shroff, H.F. Hess, E. Betzig, and J. Lippincott-Schwartz, "High-density mapping of single-molecule trajectories with photoactivated localization microscopy", Nature Methods, vol. 5, pp. 155-157, 2008.

ABRF Report, Day 1

I just got back from attending the meeting of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities in Palm Springs. It was a nice little meeting, and not just because it was in sunny Palm Springs.


The view from the convention center.

This is the first time that I had been to the ABRF meeting and my understanding is that this is the first time that microscopy had its own track at the meeting. The meeting is basically a meeting of core managers, and it was dominated by next-generation sequencing, along with some mass spectrometry and flow cytometry. Not surprisingly, I attended primarily the microscopy sessions.  What follows are a few things I thought were noteworthy.

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