SD Mines Receives Imaging Scientist Grant for Cutting-Edge Live Cell Imaging

Brandon Scott, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at SD Mines, adjusts part of the Lattice Light Sheet Microscope (LLSM) used to make dynamic 3D movies showing the inner workings of living cells.

Brandon Scott, Ph.D., a post-doctoral researcher in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, and  affiliated with the imaging core of BioSystems Networks / Translational Research, or BioSNTR (pronounced "bio-center") at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, is one of 17 scientists in the United States to be supported by a $17-million dollar grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to select imaging centers across the country. The grant will support Scott to continue his work on cutting-edge imaging science using the Lattice Light Sheet Microscope (LLSM) and a suite of state-of-the-art imaging tools established by the imaging core of BioSNTR at SD Mines.

The centerpiece of the application was 3D imaging of living cells using the LLSM. This powerful tool allows the visualization of life at the cellular level in ways previously not possible, giving researchers the ability to view the inner workings of cells dynamically. The work could have impact on a wide range of medical research, from immunotherapy to cancer research. These new imaging methods are helping researchers understand how life works at the cellular and sub-cellular level, which could enable new therapies and other insights into the origins and prevention of many diseases.

“If you took a clock and smashed it, and then looked at all the parts to try to figure out how it worked, it would be a difficult and time-consuming process which may never yield the right answer. But being able to see the parts in action — that’s the difference,” says Steve Smith, Ph.D. director of the nanoscience and nanoengineering program, the imaging core of BioSNTR at SD Mines, and principal investigator on the award from CZI. “So many more questions can be answered by seeing the parts of a cell working together.”

The CZI award recognizes the state-of-the-art imaging and bioscience capabilities established through the State of South Dakota’s investments in BioSNTR, and the science in which Scott played a critical role during his postdoctoral studies. Scott’s BioSNTR research at SD Mines is in collaboration with Robert Anderson, Ph.D., who developed the LLSM through a license agreement with Howard Hughes Medical Institute, BioSNTR director Adam Hoppe, Ph.D., (SDSU), BioSNTR imaging core lead Steve Smith, Ph.D, at SD Mines and collaborators in and outside of South Dakota.

“The team includes biologists, optical physicists, and computer scientists all working together,” says Scott. “I am passionate about creating new microscopic techniques and image processing algorithms to answer quantitative cell biology questions.”

One of the 3D movies captured by the Mines team (including several Ph.D. students) on the LLSM shows white blood cells reacting to antibody labeled target cells. This kind of imaging can lead scientists to a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the immune system and how to harness the body’s ability to defend itself to fight disease.

“If we can learn how to direct our own immune system to attack cancer cells, that’s a big push in cancer research right now – imaging can enable and advance medical science toward new understanding and eventual breakthroughs,” says Smith.  

The research funded by this CZI grant begins this summer.

The Lattice Light Sheet (Bessel Beam) Microscope referenced in this research was used under license from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus. 


Last edited 3/20/2019 9:49:54 PM

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