Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy at NARILIS opens new avenues of discovery

Since end-January, a brand new ZEISS LSM 900 with Airyscan2 is installed and operational at the Morph-Im platform (Morphology & Imaging) of the UNamur. This compact confocal microscope allows fast and gentle imaging of living or fixed samples in super resolution (120 nm), and offers the possibility to perform 3D imaging. Welcoming such equipment has required several weeks of renovation work to convert a room into a new microscopy facility by the technical services of the UNamur (SIGEC). This important achievement is due in large part to the perseverance and determination of Prof. Henri-François Renard, cell biologist at the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (URBC) and head of the research group Dynamics of Membranes & Endocytosis (DoME), with the support of our institution. The purchase of the new machine was made possible thanks to his recently awarded Francqui Start-Up Grant and the financial support of the URBC and Morph-Im platform. Following a test phase, the LSM 900 will soon be open to the whole scientific community from Namur.



ZEISS LSM 900 with Airyscan 2
Shigella-infected HeLa cells in 3D at a resolution of 120nm
(red: Shigella; green: actin cytoskeleton)

But that’s not all… In the course of 2021, an additional machine will arrive at the Morph-Im platform, increasing the imaging capabilities with high spatial and temporal resolutions. A process of public procurement is under preparation for the acquisition of a microscope for azimuthal 360° Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) scanning, allowing 3D super-resolution imaging of dynamic processes at the cell surface. This new instrument will be funded through the Incentive grant for scientific research (MIS) recently awarded to Henri-François Renard by the FNRS. Stay tuned, more information to come in the next few months…
Currently, a nanoscope STEDYCON from Abberior is in demo at the UNamur until March 4th. Researchers are welcome to discover and try the instrument with their own samples. The STED (stimulated emission depletion) technology enables to acquire stunning images with a resolution down to 40 nm! This demo workshop is an important preparatory step prior to the submission of applications to equipment funding agencies. The long-term objective will be to import nanoscopy at the UNamur, potentially resolving features down to 2-3 nm! This type of equipment is still absent in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. Investment in such super-resolution technologies will undoubtedly represent a huge step forward, not only for the UNamur Morph-Im platform, but also beyond the university. The idea is to develop a full service open to academic and industrial partners and providing cutting-edge support and expertise.

Head of Morph-Im platform: