Opportunities for high resolution FLIM microscopy at Bulgaria’s Sofia BioImaging Node

May 7, 2022
Cell Biology FLIM Funding Opportunity Sofia Node User stories

Interested in protein dynamics and DNA repair? Why not work with the experts at Sofia BioImaging Node? Thanks to the support of the Bulgarian National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure, the Node has two new instruments to perform Fluorescence-lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). Stoyno Stoynov, Node coordinator, explains how these technologies will enhance the Node’s portfolio and answer new research questions. And he shares an important opportunity for Bulgarian researchers to gain full financial support for imaging projects undertaken at the Node.

“Being part of Euro-BioImaging is extremely beneficial to our Node. Thanks to our collaboration on the European level via Euro-BioImaging, our Node is recognized by the Bulgarian National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures, and this gives us access to important funding. The funds can be used to invest in instruments, but also support our human resources costs. Starting in 2022, it gives us funds to support user access,” says Stoyno Stoynov.

“Six Bulgarian scientists will receive funding from the Bulgarian National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures in 2022. They must apply for access to the Sofia Node via the Euro-BioImaging portal, and be accepted by the Euro-BioImaging review process. Then they will receive up to 3,000 Euros to perform their experiment at the Node,” he explains.

This user funding comes in addition to infrastructure funding that made it possible for the Node to install two new instruments in March 2022. The Sofia Node chose to invest in Leica Stellaris 8 Confocal Microscope Platform with Falcon FLIM, as well as updating their Zeiss machine with a PicoQuant FLIM system. Stoyno Stoynov is excited about both of these additions to the Sofia BioImaging Node’s portfolio.  “We chose Stellaris 8 for the wide lasers that allow us to choose the excitation light with which we excite the fluorescent probes – very important in terms of flexibility. And since Stellaris has STED, we can go to 15 nm super resolution with these machines.” These exciting developments mean the door is open to perform isotropy experiments and Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FSC).

The advantage of these new techniques is that when used with DNArepairK Database, the software tool developed at the Sofia Node, it is possible to see DNA damage and the following repair process in an even more precise way. Stoyno Stoynov will also use FLIM to measure the diffusion and the concentration of the proteins he studies. This will allow him and his team to model the process of DNA damage in and of itself.

New Stellaris 8 machine at Sofia BioImaging
New Leica Stellaris 8 Confocal Microscope Platform with Falcon FLIM is available for users at Sofia BioImaging Node Bulgaria.

In addition, the new machines have incubators for live cell imaging and are equipped with a UV ablation system, which allows the induction of DNA damage and tracking of the cells response to this damage. Studying how cells respond and heal DNA damage in this dynamic fashion will allow the Node – and its users - to advance the understanding of the underlying cell biologic processes as well as testing the effect of anti-cancer drugs on DNA repair.

These techniques – and the expertise of Stoyno Stoynov and his team - are available to all Euro-BioImaging users by applying through the Euro-BioImaging portal.

The Bulgarian Node was also selected by one of the successful candidates in Euro-BioImaging’s pilot call for funded user projects, supported by the Euro-BioImaging User Access fund. The Sofia BioImaging Node team is looking forward to supporting the user’s project on membrane disruptions and repair in cell death processes in June.

About the Sofia BioImaging Node

The Sofia BioImaging Node is a multimodal single-sited Node, located at the Institute of Molecular Biology, Bulgarian Academy of Science, in Sofia. The Bulgarian Center for Advanced Microscopy at IMB-BAS is included in the National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure and as part of Euro-BioImaging provides open user access to a range of state-of-the-art technologies in biological and biomedical imaging for life scientists. With a specific focus on fast and high-resolution live-cell imaging and laser-based disruptions of cells and their components, the Node provides outstanding expertise in the application of Spinning Disk microscope systems and the use of UV laser micro-irradiation and FRAP to study protein dynamics and DNA repair. For more information see http://dnarepair.bas.bg/eurobioimaging.bg/site/.

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