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Title: Volumetric imaging across spatiotemporal scales in biology with fluorescence microscopy
Author: Sims, Ruth Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 7661 2185
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Quantitative three dimensional maps of cellular structure, activity and function provide the key to answering many prevalent questions in modern biological research. Fluorescence microscopy has emerged as an indispensable tool in generating such maps, but common techniques are limited by fundamental physical constraints which render them incapable of simultaneously achieving high spatial and temporal resolution. This thesis will describe the development of novel microscopy techniques and complementary computational tools capable of addressing some of the aforementioned limitations of fluorescence microscopy and further outline their application in providing novel biological insights. The first section details the design of a light sheet microscope capable of high-throughput imaging of cleared, macroscopic samples with cellular resolution. In light sheet microscopy, the combination of spatially confined illumination with widefield detection enables multi-megapixel acquisition in a single camera exposure. The corresponding increase in acquisition speed enables systems level biological studies to be performed. The ability of this microscope to perform rapid, high-resolution imaging of intact samples is demonstrated by its application in a project which established a niche and hierarchy for stem cells in the adult nervous system. Light sheet microscopy achieves fast volumetric imaging rates, but the two dimensional nature of each measurement results in an inevitable lag between acquisition of the initial and final planes. The second section of this thesis describes the development and optimization of a light field microscope which captures volumetric information in a snapshot. Light field microscopy is a computational technique and images are reconstructed from raw data. Both the fidelity of computed volumes and the efficiency of the algorithms are strongly dependent on the quality of the rectification. A highly accurate, automated procedure is presented in this section. Light field reconstruction techniques are investigated and compared and the results are used to inform the re-design of the microscope. The new optical configuration is demonstrated to minimize the long-object problem. In the final section of the thesis, the spatial resolution limits of light field microscopy are explored using a combination of simulations and experiments. It is shown that light field microscopy is capable of localizing point sources over a large depth of field with high axial and lateral precision. Notably, this work paves the way towards frame rate limited super resolution localization microscopy with a depth of field larger than the thickness of a typical mammalian cell.
Supervisor: O'Holleran, Kevin ; Reichelt, Stefanie Sponsor: EPSRC ; Cancer Research UK
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Fluorescence microscopy ; Computational imaging ; Volumetric imaging