Preimplantation mouse development

Preimplantation development is key to mammalian pregnancy success. About 70% of pregnancies fail during the first few days before the embryo is ready for implantation. Understanding the underlying processes will help to identify approaches that increase the success rates of pregnancies. During the pre-implantation phase, the fertilized oocyte divides several times to separate into three distinct populations of cells that will give rise to the embryo proper, the placenta and the yolk sac cells.

Three dimensional cell cultures and light sheet-based fluorescence microscopy represent promising tools in phenotypic drug screening and personalized medicine

Undesired cytotoxic effects of many cancer drug candidates are mostly recognized quite late during the clinical trials. Just one out of ten drug candidates entering phase I trials reaches the market. This low success rate drives the high development costs and the prices of successfully marketed drugs. New assays predicting the efficacy of drugs in the early, pre-clinical stage are required to increase the success rate in drug development. Modern assays are performed with three-dimensional cell cultures. Three-dimensional cultures essentially avoid hard and flat surfaces.

Formation of three-dimensional cellular spheroids - combining mathematical modelling and experiments

Most cells in the human body are organised in three-dimensional structures. This leads to complex intercellular interactions that cannot be reproduced in two-dimensional monolayers of cell cultures. On the other hand, studying intercellular interactions in vivo is still rather complex. To bridge the gap, multicellular spheroids – three dimensional ball-shaped aggregates – have been developed as an in vitro model system for cellular interactions in tissues.

From the Ultramikroskop to 4Pi Microscopy to Theta Microscopy to Tetrahedral Microscopy to Light sheet-based fluorescence microscopy (LSFM)

Specimens scatter and absorb light, thus, the delivery of the probing light and the collection of the signal light become inefficient; many endogenous biochemical compounds also absorb light and suffer degradation of some sort (photo-toxicity), which induces malfunction of a specimen.  In conventional and confocal fluorescence microscopy, whenever a single plane is observed, the entire specimen is illuminated (Verveer 2007).  Recording stacks of images along the optical z-axis thus illuminates the entire specimen once for each plane.  Hence, cells are illuminated 10-20 and fi