024: CIAL

Created by Kate Sullivan and Donald Bell (CIAL)

The Confocal and Image Analysis Laboratory at NIMR has provided general microscopy know-how and imaging services to many labs across the Institute since 1998.

The canvas depicts the fact that we use visible light to image samples. The prism (top left) shows the constituent colours of white light, as first demonstrated by Isaac Newton. Our microscopes use these individual colours to visualise structures within biological samples. A single cell in the next panel (top right) depicts fluorescence labelling of some intracellular structures, actin stress fibres (green stitching), mitochondria (red beads) and nucleus (purple felt) within that cell.

As our cameras are measuring devices, we help users to extract information from the captured images with the aid of post-acquisition software. The lower panel (bottom right) depicts the use of such a software, Fiji, to produce a light intensity graph from across the cell. The yellow bar (both panels) represents the “line tool” in the software and links the position of measurement on the sample to the numerical outcome.

The final panel, the letters “CIAL” by which our facility has become known, are sewn in blue, green, red and dark red to represent the increasing wavelengths of light (between ultraviolet and infrared).