Unveiling the beauty of 3D light field microscopy

ELBE Visiting Scientists at the CSBD

In February, the CSBD is hosting another visitor via the ELBE Visiting Faculty Program. Rudolf Oldenbourg from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, United States, together with a graduate student, Ben Preusser from the University of Chicago, are visiting our center to work with the groups of Ivo Sbalzarini and Florian Jug.

Rudolf’s lab at MBL uses advanced optical methods to study mechanisms that maintain the structural integrity of mitotic spindles in dividing cells. For instance, the scientists look at crane fly cells to investigate how the mal-orientation of a chromosome that is connected to only one spindle pole is being corrected, a crucial step for an error-free cell division. To do so, they have developed a new type of light field microscope that uses polarized light to analyze molecular structures with unprecedented sensitivity, resolution, and speed. Currently, Rudolf’s team is aiming at advancing polarized light field microscopy from 2D to its full 3-dimensional glory.

Physicist Oldenbourg says, “We have built the hardware to capture polarized light field images recording the architectural dynamics in living cells and tissues. What we still need are appropriate computational algorithms that convert these records into three-dimensional cell structures. We have come to the CSBD to explore computational approaches, such as training neural networks, for tackling this “inverse problem” in polarized light field microscopy. The computational methods developed in the groups of Ivo Sbalzarini and Florian Jug, such as APR and CARE, are exactly what we need.”

Rudolf continues, “I had heard about Ivo’s and Florian’s work at recent conferences and am very happy that the ELBE Program allows us to exchange and collaborate on our project now.” Graduate student, Ben Preusser, adds, “We really like the open and interdisciplinary spirit at the CSBD. The expertise obtained can be very helpful to eventually overcome the existing limitations of light field microscopy.”

Via the ELBE Visiting Faculty Program, the CSBD continuously offers funded opportunities for researchers working in the area of its mission. During their stay, visiting faculty closely interacts with research groups at the CSBD, as well as with labs at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), and the Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS).