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Interview with Magali Mondin on THUNDER Imagers

Magali Mondin, engineer at the BIC (Bordeaux Imaging Center) in France, describes her experience using a THUNDER Imager in this interview. She had the opportunity to test extensively the THUNDER Imager 3D Tissue in her facility for several weeks on a wide variety of specimens. We met with her after the testing was finished to discuss the results she obtained and her experience working with the THUNDER technology.

The BIC offers resources for photonic and electronic imaging, mainly in the life, health, and plant sciences. It is a core facility in France composed of 3 units with a staff of 13 highly skilled engineers. The BIC has advanced bio-imaging techniques for fixed- and live-cell imaging, such as video microscopy, confocal microscopy, multiphoton microscopy, light-sheet microscopy, super-resolution microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy.

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What is your name, your institution, your department, & what are the main research areas of your users?

Magali Mondin, engineer at the CNRS, in the Photonic Microscopy Unit of the BIC (Bordeaux Imaging Center UMS 3420) in France. I am responsible for super-resolution applications, user training, development of imaging protocols, and assisting users with analysis. Our users are mainly working in the neurosciences and oncology.

You just had a THUNDER system to test. What do you think of the images you obtained?

I was pleasantly surprised by the images obtained with the THUNDER system and particularly by the improvement brought by the ICC (Instant Computational Clearing) treatment. On many of the samples we tested (immuno-labeled brain slices, cell cultures), this simple treatment was sufficient to improve the contrast and facilitate the segmentation of the sample features of interest. We also had the opportunity to test the THUNDER system on spheroid-type samples with which we could really appreciate the combined effect of ICC treatment and deconvolution in order to get rid of the out-of-focus blur and obtain high-contrast images.

Do the results meet your expectations?

Personally, I had no particular expectations before these tests, because I am very used to deconvolution, so I had a preconceived notion of interest. The system, therefore, exceeded my "expectations" in terms of speed, integration, and efficiency of ICC processing.

At the scale of the platform, we were curious to evaluate the positioning of this system within the range of our equipment (widefield systems, confocal scanning systems, spinning-discs...). These tests allowed us to identify different types of research questions that the THUNDER system could answer more efficiently or more simply than the tools currently proposed.

What did you prefer about the system (speed, ease of use, image quality...)?

The samples for which the THUNDER system has shown the most immediate interest among our users are the marked tissue samples. In this context, what really impressed us was the global integration making image acquisition very simple. Indeed, between the ease of defining the areas to be imaged with the Navigator module, the simplicity of defining the acquisition settings, and the integration of the processing tools (ICC & deconvolution), the handling of the system is done in a very simple and fast way, ideal for a platform!

What are the main advantages of having a THUNDER system in an imaging center?

The THUNDER system for us represents an interesting intermediary between widefield systems and scanning confocal systems. This type of system can allow users of widefield systems to improve their data acquisition in order to facilitate analysis and, conversely, users of scanning confocal systems that do not require 3D sectioning can save time during acquisition. Its ease of use makes it a very simple tool to integrate into a multi-user platform.

If you could say a word about THUNDER, what would it be? 

Simple and efficient (oops that's 2 words...)

Human induced pluripotent stem cells in 3D cyst conformation