Leica Microsystems, Columbia University team to develop and market SCAPE microscopy

The agreement will commercialize swept confocally aligned planar excitation (SCAPE) microscopy, which forms 3D images of living samples.

Content Dam Bow Online Articles 2016 11 Scape Zebrafish Heart Web

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.

Related: Neuroscience trailblazer wins BRAIN Initiative grant for high-speed microscopy method

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.

Content Dam Bow Online Articles 2016 11 Scape Zebrafish Heart Web
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.

Scape Flybrain Web
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.

More in Bioimaging