Project 1: The Mouse Brain Library Project 2: Internet Microscopy (iScope) Project 3: Neurocartographer and Segmentation of the MBL Project 4: The Neurogenetics Tool Box


















Principal Investigator/Program Director Williams,Robert W.

  Aim 2: Robotic Slide Handling System.
Dr. Nissanov and colleagues at Drexel University have spent the past two years designing and building a unique and effective slide-handling system that works in conjunction with a motorized microscope stage. This slide-handling system consists a set of slide carousels, each of which can accommodate 50 2 x 3 inch glass slides. Slides are delivered from the carousel to a transfer belt that reliably loads slides onto the microscope stage. An optical feedback system ensures that slides are mounted precisely. In Year 01 we will build a second, larger and more refined carousel system and motorized X-Y stages to work in conjunction with one of the inverted microscopes described in Aim 1. This system will allow us to open a large part of the MBL to online high-magnification analysis. Drs. Rosen, Nissanov, and Williams will collaborate closely in designing a Slide-and-Coordinate database (described in Project 1). Our design goal is to deliver web microscopists to any site on any slide in the MBL with a precision of 200 µm. Our long-term goal is to achieve an accuracy of µm.
Late in Year 02 the MBL will have expanded to more than 5000 slides, and we will be ready to experiment with a higher-capacity and more flexible slide-handling system. For this reason we request funds to adapt a commercial robot arm used in DNA automation laboratories to deliver slides to any of four microscope stations and from an arbitrarily large collection of slides. As part of this project, we will develop a novel slide mounting system. Two to four slides will be mounted in rigid plastic holders. This will improve robotic handling, slide delivery, and registration of slides on the stage; in addition, we can apply machine-readable bar codes to the these holders to facilitate machine reading and sorting of the MBL. Our goal is to assemble a system that can be extended from the 1200 slides now in the MBL to a collection of more than 10,000 slides. The slide system will include a master rack that securely holds the majority of the collection and a cache rack for recently and frequently accessed slides. Our target is to load slides in the cache in less than 1 minute and to load slides in the main rack in less than 2 minutes.

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  Aim 3. A Web Archive Of Image Stacks and Software for Stack Analysis.