AIC Committee

Members of the Advanced Imaging Center

Dr. Eduardo Rosa-Molinar (Chairman) and Jose L. Serrano-Velez

University of Kansas
Microscopy and Analytical Imaging Resources Core Laboratory Professor
1200 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
Eduard Rosa - Spinal Motor Neurons

Eduardo Rosa-Molinar, Ph.D. is a Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Neuroscience Graduate Program and Director of the Microscopy and Analytical Imaging Resource Core Laboratory at the University of Kansas. Until June 2015, he was a tenured Professor of Integrative Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, San Juan Puerto Rico.

Ed Rosa-Molinar

Rosa-Molinar and his group focuses on the “neural microcircuits", a specific pattern of interconnections between neurons and synapses within a specific region of the central nervous system (i.e., spinal cord); they image and study the three-dimensional (3-D) nano-scale geometry of synapses. We are particularly interested in “mixed synapses”, a poorly studied synapse that combines the features of both chemical and electrical synapses (i.e., gap junction).

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Dr. Rainer Pepperkok

Team Leader and Head of Dept.
Adv. Light Microscopy Core Facility
EMBL Heidelberg, Meyerhofstraße 1
69117 Heidelberg, Germany

Molecular biology is evolving at a dizzying pace. As this science shifts its emphasis to new biological problems, incorporating new investigative methods and techniques, instruments must keep up with the latest developments and biologists must have access to state-of-the-art equipment and high quality training in its use. These are the goals of the new Advanced Light Microscopy Facility at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's main facility in Heidelberg.

  • PhD - University Kaiserslautern, Germany (1992)
  • Postdoctoral work at University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Lab Head at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK
  • Team Leader at EMBL since 1998

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Dr. Paul T. Matsudaira

Department of Biological Science
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543

Paul Matsudaira The Whitehead·MIT BioImaging Center brings together a diverse and distinguished group of faculty from the Whitehead Institute and MIT biology, chemistry, computer science, and bioengineering departments along with research scientists, graduate students, and post-docs, all with a common belief: that complex cellular processes can best be understood by seeing with sophisticated imaging techniques, and then understanding the images through powerful computational methods.

A nexus for technology development, the BioImaging Center seeks to expand the frontiers of molecular imaging by building and beta-testing new instruments, applying powerful computational models to acquired data, and advancing commercial and clinical applications. Collaborative, curious, and committed, the BioImaging Center is a valuable resource to the global research community.

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Dr. Xuejun Sun

Faculty Services Officer IV
Experimental Oncology
Department of Oncology
University of Alberta
Cross Cancer Institute
11560 University Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 1Z2

Xuejun SunThe Cell Imaging Facility at Cross Cancer Institute is a multi-user resource that enables researchers in the Institute and in the University of Alberta to implement imaging techniques in their research. The Facility focuses on applications of advanced, light microscopic imaging techniques (live cell imaging, FRAP, FLIM, FRET, Fluorescence Correlative Spectroscopy (FCS), etc.) in various aspects of Cancer/Cell biology research.

The Facility was established in 1998. Various light microscopic imaging instruments are available for local researchers (including confocal, multi-photon, deconvolution, Laser catapulting and high throughput FISH system, etc.). It is supported by CIHR (Canadian Institute of Health Research) and Alberta Cancer Board. Various research projects are currently conducted in the Facility. Briefly, main focuses of the department are: 1) Tumor biology; 2) DND damage and repair; 2) Cell cycle control and nucleus structure; 3) Role of transporter proteins in nucleoside biology and therapeutics.

Bitplane software has been a major imaging analysis tool for the Facility. Beside routine 3-D visualization with the software, Bitplane software enables us to conduct many complex image analyses which are impossible to do without it (e.g. 4-d tracking; co-localization analysis, quantifying DNA damage using image based analysis, etc.).

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Dr. Scott Fraser

Biological Imaging Center
1200 E California Blvd.
Beckman Institute 139-74
Pasadena, CA 91125

Fraser ApplicationScott FraserThe research at Scott Fraser's Biological Imaging Center explores the patterning of cell lineages, cell migrations and axonal connections during vertebrate embryogenesis. The goal is to develop new imaging techniques and experimental strategies that permit single-cell resolution studies of each of these key processes in intact developing embryos. Given that there is no single imaging technology or developmental model system that is ideal for all studies, we employ a parallel approach; we both consider various systems such as the frog, chicken or mouse and use techniques as diverse as video, laser scanning confocal, laser scanning two-photon, or magnetic resonance microscopy.

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Dr. Michael Liebling


Before joining UCSB in 2007, Michael studied Physics at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) and received the MS in 2000, with a diploma thesis on computerized tomography reconstruction. He was granted the PhD degree from the same institution in 2004 for a dissertation on Digital Holography and Image Processing that he completed under the advisory of Prof. Michael Unser at the Biomedical Imaging Group, EPFL. From 2004 to 2007, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the lab of Prof. Scott E. Fraser at the Biological Imaging Center, Beckman Institute, California Institute of Technology.

Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of California Santa Barbara
Mail Code 9560
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9560

Our research interests are biological image acquisition, reconstruction, processing, and analysis. More specifically, we focus on developing novel microscopy instrumentation combined with the computational tools to enable dynamic, multi-modal, and in vivo cellular imaging during embryonic heart morphogenesis.

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Dr. Andres Collazo

Beckman Institute Biological
Imaging Facility
1200 E. California Blvd.
Pasadena, California

I am the Director of the Beckman Institute Biological Imaging Facility (BIF; formerly called the Biological Imaging Center, BIC) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). My research is divided into multiple projects that study the development of the inner ear to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying newborn deafness and other disorders resulting from genetic or environmental disruptions during inner ear development. Our new high-resolution imaging tools can provide an understanding of the dynamics of single protein molecules in the context of differentiating cells in living embryos.

My main research project utilizes a novel gene trap screen in zebrafish, done by our collaborators at Caltech. This FlipTrap screen generated hundreds of transgenic lines where full-length, endogenous proteins are tagged with a yellow fluorescent protein (citrine), allowing for high resolution imaging of labeled proteins and cells in intact, living embryos. A major goal of biology is to study the dynamics of single protein molecules in living animals, a potentially powerful tool for identifying abnormal protein function and understanding the molecular causes of medical disorders. This project advances this goal by using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) to analyze quantitative properties of single fluorescently tagged proteins during vertebrate development. These data can be used to determine a protein’s mobility, concentration and binding kinetics; important properties for understanding protein function. The overarching goal of my research program is to push the limits of optical microscopy to study how proteins function in as close to in vivo conditions as possible.

  • Cornell University, Biology, B.S.
  • University of California at Berkeley, Zoology, Ph.D.

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Dr. Aaron Ponti

ETH Zürich
D-BSSE Scientific Cent. Facilities
Mattenstrasse 26
4058 Basel

In May 2012 Aaron Ponti joined the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering of the ETH Zurich (in Basel) as a Software and Data Management Engineer in the newly established Single Cell Unit.

Aaron received a PhD at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at the ETH Zurich in 2003 for his pioneering work on the development of a software platform for the analysis of Fluorescence Speckle Microscopy applied to the study of cell motility.

Aaron has worked at The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, California as a post-doc and at Friedrich Miescher Institute in the Facility for Advanced Imaging and Microscopy.

Dr. Pierre Travo

Head of Montpellier RIO Imaging
CRBM / FRE 2593
1919, Route de Mande
34293 Montpellier Cedex 5

Montpellier RIO Imaging (MRI) is a large-scale composite group involving 5 of the 8 Federative Research Institutes (IFR) in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, and 3 of its 5 universities. In 2003 it benefited from the creation of two tenured technical posts (1 IE CNRS, 1 IE INSERM) and one long-term contract post (CDD- IR INSERM). In 2004, MRI also employed, from its own ressources, an auxilliary technician (IE) and was granted an additional tenured technical post (IR CNRS) that will come into effect at the start of 2005.

MRI is a facilty providing the environment, the equipment and the expertise necessary for the methodological and technical support of any scientific project within the life sciences that necessitates the use of imaging technology in its diverse forms (optical, electronic, computer procesing). MRI has no specific scientific project of its own.

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Dr. I. Harper

Associate Professor
School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Nursing & Health Services

Ian Harper is the director of Monash Micro Imaging (MMI), a microscopy and imaging research support facility located at Monash University. MMI gives researchers access to the latest microscopes, as well as the expert instruction to tap into their full potential. MMI offers training, research support and project development in the areas of:

  • Optical and fluorescence microscopy
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Live cell imaging
  • Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Cryo methods for tissue preparation
  • Digital imaging and image analysis

Dr. Anne McKinney

Associate Professor
Bellini Building
Room 167


  • Ph.D - University of Ulster, 1992
  • BSc.(Hons) - Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster

Anne spent 5 years in the Department of Neurophysiology at the Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich as a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Profs S.M. Thompson and B.H Gäëhwiler. In 1998 she obtained her own group at the Brain Research Institute University of Zurich. She has recently joined the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Dr. McKinney's principle research interest is the mechanisms involved in development and maintenance of excitatory synapses in the CNS, during physiological and pathological conditions, such as epilepsy and mental retardation. The synaptogenesis and maintenance of synaptic structures, key issues in neuroscience, are still poorly understood despite intensive research efforts. Her group’s studies are concentrated on the hippocampus a brain region thought to be involved in learning and memory. The McKinney lab is using a combination of techniques including, 4-dimensional confocal laser scanning microscopy, analysis of receptor subtype localization using serial electron microscopy, transgenic animals and advanced electrophysiological techniques to investigate the structure and function of dendritic spines and their synapses. These methods allows them assess the structural basis of synaptic function using multiple approaches.

Dr. Haruhiko Bito

Head of Department
Tokyo University

Our department's primary goal is to elucidate the basic signal transduction mechanisms which mediate key processes underlying various brain functions, such as learning, memory or emotion. A fundamental question is how an ensemble behavior of 10~100 billion neurons can possibly give rise to a coherent and integrated brain that controls the whole human organism for a period of more than 80 years.

What are the precise nature and the whole spectrum of the molecular changes in the neurons that undergo heavy or patterned electrical activity? What are the molecular rules that govern these local and global changes, both electrical and chemical? How are these events, in turn, converted into more profound modifications of the synaptic wiring mechanisms? And finally do these alterations genuinely underlie certain kinds of information processing and storage?

To address these issues, this Department currently focuses its resources into two basic aims:

1) Molecular investigation (including identification, characterization and real-time visualization) of signaling molecules involved in calcium-dependent synaptic modification, especially during signaling from synapse-to-nucleus, and back from nucleus-to-synapses.
2) Understanding molecular mechanisms controlling cytoskeletal dynamics and remodeling on both sides of the synapses, in the dendritic spines and in axon terminals.

Dr. Ivo F. Sbalzarni

ETH Zurich
Institut f. Theoretische Informatik
CAB E 64.1
Universitätstrasse 6
8092 Zürich


  • Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, ETH, 2002
  • PhD in Computer Science, ETH, 2006

His research focuses on developing, applying, and teaching methods from computational science for complex real-world systems. This includes work on hybrid particle-mesh methods for multi-scale simulations, parallel high-performance computing, bio-inspired optimization, and bio-medical image processing. Current applications include non-equilibrium biomatter, lipid membranes, biopolymers and proteins, and morphogenesis.

Ivo is the head of the MOSAIC group. The MOSAIC Group does research in the methodology and applications of Computational Science and aims at addressing significant scientific or engineering challenges using novel computational methods and algorithms, without which the problem could not be solved.

The MOSAIC Group is an example of interdisciplinary creativity, combining expertise from Computer Science, mathematics, engineering, physics, and biology. This enables broader coverage of the literature and allows innovative solutions that involve expertise from more than one discipline. The group has a triple affiliation with the ETH Departments of Computer Science , Biology, and Mechanical and Process Engineering. In addition, MOSAIC is a member of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), of the Zurich Center for Imaging Science and Technology (CIMST), of the Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences (MedILS), and itparticipates in the curriculum in Computational Science and Engineering (RW/CSE) hosted by the ETH Departments of Mathematics and Physics.

Dr. Frances Edwards

UCL Neuroscience
Physiology & Pharmacology
University College London

Dr Frances Edwards graduated in Pharmacology at the University of Sydney, Australia and received her PhD in 1990 whilst working at the Max-Planck Institute in Germany under the Nobel prize winner, Prof. Bert Sakmann. In 1996 she joined the Department of Physiology at UCL as a Senior Lecturer and was promoted in 1999 to Reader in Neurophysiology.

Processing of Memory: Plasticity and Homeostasis in the Hippocampus

Processing of Memory - NeuroscienceMemory must involve activity-dependent changes in the network of communication between brain cells. The hippocampus has long been known to be involved in the laying down of memory and much work on this field has concentrated on this area of the brain. Moreover this is one of the first areas to show changes in Alzheimer’s disease. Cellular phenomena have been described by which the communication at individual synapses, (the connections between individual neurones), can be strengthened, ('long-term potentiation', LTP) or weakened ('long-term depression', LTD). But should the changes in the hippocampus really last indefinitely?

If strengthening or weakening of synapses in a particular pathway are uncontrolled this could result in unbalance of the overall output of the neurone so that it fires too fast or insufficiently to maintain healthy function and processing. Such imbalances can be very damaging, not only undermining the intended function of the circuit and so impairing learning but also resulting in conditions such as epilepsy. As change in synaptic strength is integral to the very function of the hippocampus, this region will be particular vulnerable to such problems.

In order to avoid such imbalance, the neurones are known to have strong balancing (homeostatic) mechanisms. A lot of past work has focused on such homeostasis but generally by studying the effects of weakening or strengthening all the synapses of the neurones measured, using pharmacological means. Instead we use methods we have recently developed (De Simoni et al., 2006) as well as other recently introduced techniques such as microelectrode arrays which allow us to stimulate individual pathways impinging on the hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cell. We can thus strengthen or weaken the synapses within one pathway and study what happens to them and their neighbours over time.

Dr. Willy Supatto

Laboratory for Optics and Biosciences
Ecole Polytechnique
Palaiseau, France


  • MSc. in General Engineering, ESPCI Paris (2002)
  • MSc. in Biophysics, Paris VII University (2002)
  • Ph.D. in Biophysics, Institut Curie (2005)

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