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When sparks fly to innovate new technologies for imaging life at the microscopic scale, often diverse researchers are nudging each other with a kind of collegial one-upmanship.
"Look at the resolution we obtain with this microscope I've designed," the physicist says. "Great," the biologist replies, "but my research organism moves fast. Can you boost the system's speed?" "You'll have terabytes of raw data coming off that microscope system," says the computational scientist. "We'll build in algorithms to manage the data and produce the most meaningful images." Around they go, propelling a cycle of challenge and innovation that allows them to see more clearly into new dimensions of the microscopic world.
Interactions - Innovation - Pipeline - Imaging - Workspaces
Interdisciplinary interactions are essential for driving the innovation pipeline in biological imaging, yet collegial workspaces where they can spring up and mature are lacking in the United States. Last fall, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) convened a National Science Foundation workshop to identify the bottlenecks that stymie innovation in microscopy and imaging, and recommend approaches for transforming how imaging technologies are developed and deployed. The conclusions of the 79 workshop participants are summarized in a Commentary in the August issue of Nature Methods.
"We propose a network of national imaging centers that provide collaborative, interdisciplinary spaces needed for the development, application, and teaching of advanced biological imaging techniques," write the authors and workshop...
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