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NSLS-II Biomedical Imaging Workshop

September 21, 2003

A workshop on "Biomedical Imaging at NSLS-II" was held on September 21st at the National Synchrotron Light Source. Twenty-five participants attended the workshop. While some participants were familiar with synchrotron-based imaging techniques, other specialized in other complementary imaging tools. The day was divided into two main sessions; a morning session that outlined a wide range of synchrotron- and non-synchrotron based biomedical imaging techniques, and an afternoon session that concentrated on scientific applications of these techniques.

The morning began with an introduction by NSLS chairman, Steve Dierker, who described the characteristics of the proposed NSLS-II facility. Steve emphasized that the new ring will be 10,000 times brighter than the current NSLS, dramatically enhancing the biomedical imaging capabilities.

> Workshop agenda & presentations

The remainder of the early morning session focused on synchrotron-based biomedical imaging techniques that are currently available at the NSLS, including x-ray microscopy, diffraction imaging, x-ray microprobe, x-ray tomography, and infrared imaging. Current capabilities were presented, along with current limitations and improvements with NSLS-II. The participants agreed that the wide range of biomedical imaging tools afforded by the broad spectral range available at the current NSLS is a huge asset to many users that utilize more than one technique on a single visit to NSLS. In addition, the ability to interact with beamline scientists with knowledge across this broad technique base is also a unique asset of the NSLS that should be fostered at NSLS-II.

The late morning session was given by BNL scientists that specialize in non-synchrotron based imaging techniques, including cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), light microscopy, positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The complementarity of these techniques was emphasized and the development of a formal "imaging center" at BNL was proposed.

The afternoon session on scientific applications was divided into two sections: cellular imaging and tissue imaging. The cellular imaging session focused on high resolution imaging of single cells and subcellular structures. It was pointed out that the current resolution limit of soft x-ray microscopy is 25-30 nm, improvements in zone plate technology may improve this to ~10 nm. At this resolution, cell membranes and large molecular machine may be imaged in situ. It was clear that the high brightness of NSLS-II will improve the x-ray imaging capabilities, but two issues that must be addressed are radiation damage and the need for x-ray sensitive molecular probes.

Following the high-resolution cellular imaging session, the presentations focused on tissue-level imaging. The complementarity of using infrared microscopy for imaging organic composition (e.g. proteins, lipids, nucleic acids), and x-ray microprobe for metal imaging (e.g. physiological relevant metals such as Fe, Cu, and Zn) was emphasized, since the spatial resolution (2-10 microns) and sample preparation methods for the two techniques are similar. Combining these techniques is useful for studying numerous neurological diseases that are associated with protein misfolding and metal accumulation in the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and mad cow disease.

The focus of the late afternoon session was a discussion of the current state-of-the-art in clinical mammography, joint imaging, radiation therapy and cardiovascular imaging, and how these potentially life-saving procedures can be enhanced dramatically by Diffraction Enhanced Imaging (DEI), Microbeam Radiation Therapy (MRT), and in-situ micro-diffraction at the NSLS. The advancement in these diverse imaging and therapy fields depends critically on, and are currently limited by, the brightness. The impact of NSLS-II on these fields was analyzed in each case, concluding that NSLS-II will push the phase-contrast imaging to cellular resolution, and allow microbeam radiation therapy of large laboratory animals.

The program concluded with a discussion of beamlines and ancillary laboratory facilities. The participants agreed that an imaging "sector" of the ring would be highly desirable, utilizing both bending magnet and insertion device beamlines, to encourage interaction between imaging scientists in other specialties. The need for insertion device beamlines was emphasized for soft and hard x-ray microscopy techniques and x-ray microprobe, whereas bending magnet beamlines would suffice for infrared imaging and diffraction-enhanced imaging. The participants also emphasized that ancillary biology and light microscopy laboratories should be in close proximity to the imaging beamline suite.

The workshop concluded with dinner at Desmond's Restaurant at the Inn at East Wind in Wading River, NY. A delicious meal and lively conversation were enjoyed by all.

Participating Institutions

BNL, SUNY/SB, Harvard Medical School, University of Chicago, Temple University, Rush Medical College, University of North Carolina, Rutgers University

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Last Modified: May 2, 2014
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