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.

  Status of the current Internet microscopy project.

When Glenn Rosen and I began the MBL two years ago, we intended it to be a standard library: investigators would contact us and request small shipments of slides, which they would return promptly after analysis and photography. Reality intervened: the first shipment sent out was damaged during transit; we sent out backup slides, and after more than a year none of these slides has yet been returned (after three requests). This may have been good fortune. This lesson motivated us to look for a better way to organize and distribute the collection. One of us (RW) had an extra microscope recently rescued from surplus. This became the stand for our first Internet microscope, soon shortened to the iScope. Over the past year, we have made substantial progress in developing the iScope. By far the best way to assess our progress is to test drive the system at <> (we will cross our fingers that the system is online when you try this).
The present iScope is a modified upright Zeiss Universal microscope equipped with a x40 achromatic DIC objective and a MiniDV digital camcorder (Canon XL-1). The iScope has been operating continuously without hardware failure (or even a bulb change) since August 20, 1999.Although the iScope has broad applicability in research and education, in the context of our research program, it is intended primarily as a high-magnification extension of the MBL and this is where the neuroinformatics challenge lies. When the project is complete, all sections in the collection will be available for online analysis. Neuroscientists will be able to obtain streaming video at sufficient resolution (320 x 240 pixels at 10 fps, or 640 x 480 pixels at 2.5 fps) to navigate effectively through the collection. This virtual microscopy lab will be tightly integrated with image databases that are part of the MBL and NeuroCartographer projects. In conjunction with the MBL, investigators can select areas they want to examine in greater detail, then zoom in from low-resolution images of entire slides, to a medium-resolution images of individual sections, to high-resolution through-focus image stacks of neurons and glial cells.

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  Modern Stereology and the iScope Project.