Leica Microsystems CMS (Wetzlar, Germany) has entered into an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement with Columbia University (New York, NY) to commercialize swept confocally aligned planar excitation (SCAPE) microscopy, a method developed at Columbia that forms 3D images of living samples by scanning them with a sheet of laser light.
SCAPE's capabilities include imaging individual neurons firing throughout the brain of adult fruit flies and tracking calcium waves through cells in the beating heart of a zebrafish, among others. SCAPE also stands to create new inroads for understanding diseases such as cancer, and for the development of new drugs and therapies.
|Beating heart of zebrafish larva (56 hrs. after fertilization). Myocytes are expressing GCaMP (calcium indicator) and dsRed (cell marker). Imaged in vivo using SCAPE at 25 volumes/s, with 335 × 288 × 156 µm field of view. (Credit: Hillman/Li/Targoff, Columbia University)|
SCAPE microscopy was developed in the laboratory of Elizabeth Hillman, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at Columbia University and a principal investigator at Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. As the method is able to scan and image a moving light sheet through a single, stationary objective lens, it delivers 3D imaging speeds that are 10–100 times faster than conventional point-scanning microscopes while maintaining the benefits of light-sheet imaging, including low photodamage.
|Whole brain of adult Drosophila acquired in vivo at 10 volumes/s using SCAPE. Neuronal subset expressing GFP (green), mushroom body neurons expressing dsRed. 450 × 264 × 227 µm field of view. (Credit: Hillman/Li/Schaffer, Columbia University)|
The technology was recognized in late 2015 with a grant award from the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative.