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Spring 2021 Image Competition Winners, Elaine Ma (CRUK Beatson Institute) and Vanya Metodieva (University of St Andrews)

Scottish Microscopy Society Newsletter
June 2021

Keep up to date with our plans and get involved!

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Scottish Microscopy Facilities Database
Microscopy Events
New Industry Representatives
Career Opportunities
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Scottish Microscopy Facilities Database Launched

We recently launched the Scottish Microscopy Facilities Database to help connect microscopy users with open-access facilities across Scotland.

The database is a modern tool that exemplifies the Society's 4 key principles:
  • Promote microscopy research facilities in Scotland
  • Inform on new technologies and funding prospects
  • Connect microscopy developers and researchers
  • Inspire collaboration across disciplines and institutions
We currently have 25 facilities listed, offering access to over 100 different optical and electron imaging technologies. There are plenty of different ways to search the database to help connect you to the best imaging technology for your application.

Microscopy Facility Funding: Projects Awarded

With the launch of the Scottish Microscopy Facilities Database, we partnered with SULSA to fund enhancements to these facilities through purchasing of new equipment (hardware or software).

We're delighted to announce the following awards, totalling nearly £50,000, which will be used to strengthen the capabilities of microscopy facilities in Scotland.  

Future Awards in Autumn 2021
We expect this award to run again in Autumn 2021. Make sure your facility is registered in the Scottish Microscopy Facility Database to be eligible.
We will be advertising any microscopy-related events taking place in and around Scotland in here. Please get in touch with us if you would like to advertise your event:

SHINE: Scottish Health and Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship

We were pleased to collaborate with SHINE on their network meeting last week. The speakers were inspiring and demonstrated some of the many ways optics and spectroscopy is innovating in health technology.

Find out more about SHINE events on their website, or email to join the SHINE mailing list.

The next SHINE event is online at 7pm Monday 21st June (today). Register here by 5pm to attend.

Bitesize Bio Workshops on Science Communication

Thanks to everyone who attended the sold out Scottish Microscopy Society and Bitesize Bio workshop on science communication – the event was so successful that we ran a follow up session, and have members working with Bitesize Bio to write articles helping users with different aspects of microscope usage.

Find out more on our website and on Bitesize Bio’s website.

Keep an eye on our website and our Twitter feed to find out about other webinars we're running.
We're delighted to welcome our new industry representatives on the Scottish Microscopy Society Committee, Jake Panesar of Agar Scientific and Chris Wood of Nikon Instruments.

SMS run competitions throughout the year – keep an eye out for upcoming competitions!

Image Competition, Spring 2021 Winners

Congratulations to our two winners, Vanya Metodieva (University of St Andrews) and Elaine Ma (CRUK Beatson Institute). Details of the winning entries are shown below and each winner will receive a £10 Amazon gift card. We received lots of great entries and we love them all! Votes were cast by the public in an online vote.

Vanya Metodieva, University of St Andrews
The Galaxy of the Little Brain (Public Vote)

Being often overlooked, glial cells play multiple key roles in the brain: from governing nutrient supply to the brain to controlling the electrical signalling of neurons. In this image a type of glial cells called astrocytes, a.k.a the resident stars of the brain (from the from Ancient Greek ἄστρον, ástron, “star“) are shown in golden. These astrocytes are labelled in an acute section of a mouse cerebellum – a region known as “the little brain” which regulates movement and coordination. Importantly, recent studies show that specialised astrocytes in the cerebellum might be the reason why this brain region is resilient to multiple neurodegenerative conditions.

The image is acquired with a Nikon Eclipse Ti2-E microscope with a CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit using a 10x air objective. We utilise the high spatial resolution of conventional confocal microscopy, combined with spinning disk technology allowing us to image at ultrafast timescale. This is how we are able to depict the complex architecture and interactions of brain cells, minimising photobleaching and studying how these cells contribute to the function of the cerebellum.

Astrocytes are stained with anti-GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein) antibody. Scale bar indicates 200 μm.

Elaine Ma, CRUK Beatson Institute
Through Cancer's Core (Committee Favourite)

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer that often metastasises to areas such as the liver. To study this metastasis we are developing a 3D in vitro model using a co-culture system. This image shows a spheroid generated by the aggregation and culture of multiple liver cell types and PDAC cells. To study potential modelling of the extracellular matrix, the secretion of collagen 1 within the spheroid was visualised by immunocytochemistry. The spheroid was also stained with DAPI and Alex Fluor 568 Phalloidin, and a z stack image was taken using a Nikon A1R confocal microscope.

Check out our Twitter feed for the latest job listings in microscopy in Scotland and further afield.

If you have a vacancy and would like us to advertise it, please contact us: 

The information on how to stay up to date, join our mailing list and newsletter and share the info with your colleagues and friends.

Our new website is up and running and constantly being updated. Check everything Scottish microscopy here:
Mailing list
Sign up for our mailing list by sending us a message here. We have created this mailing list to be able to Promote, Inform and Connect you all. You can post to this mailing list by emailing Please feel free to use this mailing list to:
ask questions relating to microscopy, share events relating to microscopy, share interesting new microscopy developments and technologies, share microscopy-related job openings and funding opportunities.

We have started the SMS Newsletter as the monthly compiler of what we are up to, and what interesting events, job posts, funding calls, etc. we found out for you. Please, sign up for our newsletter here or email us to receive it. You can access the web browser version of the newsletter here or check the previous newsletter editions in our archive. If you'd like us to add anything microscopy-relevant to the next edition, please email us: 

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