Duke & Leica Microsystems Establish Center of Excellence in Microscopy

Leica microscope

Official Ribbon-Cutting

(photo by Colin Huth)

Lisa Cameron, PhD (left) (photo by Colin Huth)

Celebratory Reception

Faculty and staff gather at the Leica Microsystems Center of Excellence reception at the Duke University Light Microscopy Core Facility/Duke Cancer Institute Light Microscopy Shared Resource (photo by Colin Huth)

Duke LMCF microscopy specialist Yasheng Gao, PhD (right) with Levi Felts of Leica (photo by Colin Huth)

(photo by Colin Huth)

Director of the Light Microscopy Core Facility/ Duke Cancer Institute Light Microscopy Shared Resource, Lisa Cameron, PhD, with her favorite Leica microscope — the cutting-edge stimulated emission depletion (STED) super-resolution and nanoscopy.

Imaged by Victor Ruthig, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Blanche Capel lab in Cell Biology

SP8Image: Mouse Testis labeled with Germ Cell marker (blue), Sertoli Cell Marker (yellow), Vascular Marker (green), Hoechst (purple)

Imaged by Victor Ruthig, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Blanche Capel lab in Cell Biology

SP8: P3 Mouse Testis labeled with Germ Cell Cytoplasmic Marker (cyan), Germ Cell Nuclear Marker (red), Testis Interstitial Cell Marker (green), Hoechst (grey)

Imaged by Daniel Levic, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Michel Bagnat lab in Cell Biology

A five-day old zebrafish larva expresses GFP-Rab35 in intestinal epithelial cells stained for endogenous Rab11 (purple). “The secondary Ab was AF594 and I used the 770nm sted laser. There was no sted applied to the GFP channel,” said Levic.

(be sure to click through all 11 slides above)  
Lawrence Carin, PhD, and Greg Eppink
Lawrence Carin, PhD, Duke’s Vice President for Research, and Greg Eppink, Leica Microsystems Americas, pose with a special glass plaque created for the new Leica Microsystems Center for Excellence at the Light Microscopy Core Facility/ Duke Cancer Institute Light Microscopy Shared Resource. The plaque now graces the entrance to room 377, Nanaline Duke building. (photo by Colin Huth)

Duke University and Leica Microsystems, Inc., have formally established a Leica Microsystems Center of Excellence at the Duke University Light Microscopy Core Facility (LMCF)/Duke Cancer Institute Light Microscopy Shared Resource.

The collaboration was made official at a signing ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 19, between Lawrence Carin, PhD, Duke’s Vice President for Research, and Greg Eppink, Leica Microsystems Americas General Manager of Microscopy, followed by a ribbon-cutting.

The center supports a mission to drive new discoveries and insights from scientific research performed using three new Leica imaging systems — the stimulated emission depletion (STED) super-resolution microscope, the Deep in vivo Explorer (DIVE) multiphoton imaging microscope, and the Leica SP8 confocal. This technology allows researchers to capture images and digital movies of the cellular and molecular processes of life.

“A scientist’s insight is only as good as their tools,” said Carin. “We’re very pleased to have this microscopy center on campus to help our investigators see ever deeper into the mysteries of life.”

LMCF team
Director of the Light Microscopy Core Facility, Lisa Cameron, PhD, and the microscopy specialists Yasheng Gao, PhD, and Benjamin Carlson, PhD, who run the day-to-day operations of the core.

Colin S. Duckett, PhD, Vice Dean for Basic Science at the Duke School of Medicine, emphasized Duke’s commitment to supporting basic biomedical research.

“The fact that our biologists at Duke have the latest-breaking most cutting-edge equipment is obviously a win for us,” he said, addressing the faculty in attendance. “Our job is to lower the barriers so that you can do some fantastic science.”

Leica will support routine maintenance and upgrades of their imaging systems, while the LMCF will give Leica important feedback on functionality and workflow.

“It’s very exciting to be able to advance into the future of scientific research in collaboration with a top-tier institution like Duke,” said Eppink. “With this agreement, we’re enabling researchers to push beyond boundaries of what can be visualized and quantified. We look forward to continuing this alliance for years to come.”

Carin recognized the “incredible effort” by LMCF director, Lisa Cameron, PhD, in building this new collaboration and lauded her work running the LMCF since August 2016.

“The Light Microscopy Core is one of the most heavily used cores at Duke, fundamental to research across the university,” remarked Carin. “Your leadership is greatly appreciated.”

Colin S. Duckett, PhD
Colin S. Duckett, PhD (photo by Colin Huth)

The LMCF was initially formed from several departmental microscope resources in the Levine Science Research Center. The Department of Biology and the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology teamed up, along with the then Comprehensive Cancer Center's Confocal Microscopy Shared Resource, to hire a director in 2006 to establish and run a cooperative microscope facility for the two departments.

The facility received substantial funding from the Office of the Provost and the Dean of the Medical School in 2007 to purchase new equipment and become a resource for the entire Duke community. The facility remains a Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) Shared Resource.

Cameron thanked the university, DCI, and the School of Medicine for their investment in the continuous expansion of the LMCF and its technologies. She also expressed her appreciation for biologist Daniel P. Kiehart, PhD, and cancer biologist and DCI member Daniel Julio Lew, PhD, who’ve been LMCF advisors since the facility’s founding and for microscopy specialists Yasheng Gao, PhD, and Benjamin Carlson, PhD, who’ve been running the day-to-day operations of the facility for years.

Cameron also gave a shout-out to Scott Soderling, PhD, chair of the Department of Cell Biology and a member of DCI and the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, for his department’s support in hosting the main LMCF location, Nanaline Duke building.

Christopher Counter, PhD, and Scott Soderling, PhD
Christopher Counter, PhD, chair of the Duke Cancer Institute Shared Resource Oversight Committee and professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology (facing front), chats with fellow DCI member Scott Soderling, PhD, chair of the Department of Cell Biology, at the celebratory reception. (photo by Colin Huth)

During a celebratory reception following the ceremony, Cameron, Gao, and Carlson gave informal tours of the new Leica imaging systems to a couple dozen Duke researchers and Duke and Leica officials.

The new Leica imaging systems are housed on campus in room 377 of the Nanaline Duke Building and in room 4229 of the Medical Science Research Building III.

“Leica Microsystems will serve as an excellent partner to help push forward the technology to perform advanced light microscopy imaging on a range of samples that are part of the research going on at Duke University, Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) and the Duke School of Medicine,” said Cameron.

As a centrally funded shared resource, the LMCF’s aim is to offer affordable and efficient access to standard and advanced imaging instrumentation for users of all levels of experience and from any discipline across the Duke University and the Duke Medical Center campuses. The LMCF can help with live cells, fixed samples, model organisms, small animals, single molecule imaging or at most points in between.

The LMCF houses more 22 microscope systems and nine image analysis workstations — including from Leica, Andor Technologies, Carl Zeiss Imaging, Olympus, General Electric, Hamamatsu, and Molecular Devices — across the core’s four campus locations.