Microscopy and Molecular Imaging Unit


Microscopy and Molecular Imaging Unit. Introduction

Optical microscopy is a technique use to examine specimens mainly transparent. Opaque specimens are considered if the reflection surface is not completely pulished. Light passes through the specimen at different depths, which causes a blurry image due to the light detection coming from areas out of the plane of focus, reducing importantly sharpness, contrast, and image resolution.

Confocal laser microscopy technique became very successful after the development of laser technique. It obtained excellent results in several areas such as medicine, biology, or geology, because of its unquestionable advantages compared to the conventional optical microscopy. The principle of confocal laser microscopy is based on the elimination of the reflected light or fluorescence from the planes out of focus. To that end, the specimen is illuminated point by point with a laser line, and the only light detected is that of the focal plane, then, eliminating the light beams above and below the plane of focus, thus images of high sharpness, contrast and resolution are created. Also, confocal laser microscopy enables to obtain optical sections of the specimen, which allows the study of 3D images.

Laser capture microdissection is focused on the observation and separation of unique cells or small cell groups from a heterogeneous tissue in an efficient, rapid and targeted manner, which makes possible the systematic study of the quality and quantity of biomolecules (DNA, RNA, or proteins) in specific cell populations. This technology, firstly developed for molecular analysis of tumors, can be applied on a wide variety of tissues, and facilitates the study of the molecular bases of many diseases such as cancer, rare diseases, degenerative diseases, diabetes, and hypertension, among others.

Microscopy and Molecular Imaging Unit in GENYO is focused on the application and development of different advanced techniques of confocal laser microscopy, as well as the analysis of the dynamic localization and distribution of molecules of interest in cells or animal models, opening a wide range of new possibilities in addressing dynamic studies of cellular processes. Furthermore, laser capture microdissection technique available in the Unit, which allows isolation of pure cell populations or individual cells to the subsequent genomic or proteomic study.


The main task of the Microscopy and Molecular Imaging Unit is to provide technical support in the area of confocal laser microscopy and laser capture microdissection, both to the research groups of the Center and outside entities.

The next generation technological equipment of GENYO, together with the large experience of the scientific and technical team specialized in advanced confocal microscopy and laser microdissection, makes it possible to develop the applications required for the users of this Unit, and to achieve the main priorities of GENYO, such as the integration of basic, applied, and translational research, minimizing the times between the development of new technologies, products and procedures, and their application in the health setting. The Unit also makes it possible to participate in the development of new diagnostic systems, prevention and treatment of diseases associated to human genetic variability, by the application of new imaging techniques, in order to reach an investigation of excellence in oncology and genomics areas applied to the health care.