Mass Spectrometry Imaging

Mass spectrometry imaging is a forward-looking technology platform for proteome and active substance analysis in tissues. Mass spectrometry imaging is currently undergoing intensive development, and it displays very great application potential in the life science fields. The mass spectrometry imaging methods allow direct, spatially resolved measurements of a number of analytes (such as peptides, proteins, lipids, active substances, and their metabolites) in a tissue section with spatial resolution up to the level of individual cells. These methods offer versatility that promises important progress, such as in identifying biomarkers directly in tissues in molecular pathology, in the search for diagnostic marker molecules or target structures, and in the analysis of active substances directly in tissues (drug imaging) for a future personalized medication.

Electron Microscopy and Ultrastructural Imaging

The Laboratory for Electron Microscopy (ultrastructural imaging) is a key scientific facility at the Helmholtz Zentrum München Research Unit Analytical Pathology.

A competitive research center that is developing the foundation for personalized medicine must give electron microscopy high priority. The equipment includes two transmission electron microscopes and a scanning electron microscope, as well as the corresponding instrumentation for the particular preparation techniques.

The Laboratory for Electron Microscopy conducts ultrastructural analyses for the Helmholtz Zentrum München institutes, as well as in the framework of external scientific cooperation. The work focuses on the classic morphological ultrastructural evaluation of tissues, cells, bacteria and viruses, a field in which there are many years of extensive experience. This particularly applies to the systematic comparison of ultrastructural alterations in animal models with human diseases. Depending on the spectrum of research topics, the result is a great variety of highly specialized problem formulations and sample preparation techniques, ranging from human and animal tissues and tissue and cell cultures to isolated cell organelles to questions regarding protozoa and viruses.

Microscopy and Image Analysis

The Laboratory for Light Microscopy, Virtual Microscopy and Image Analysis (microscopic imaging) offers a broad range of modern light microscopy methods combined with an image analysis platform to support all Helmholtz München scientific groups. The laboratory's establishment ushered in the structured provision of light-optic microscopy on the campus. An online booking calendar schedules user times on the various microscopy systems. The equipment comprises three premium automatic fluorescence microscopes for 2D/3D imaging, as well as a confocal microscope system for living cell observation.

An image analysis platform for the quantification of image data has been available since 2008 for the more in-depth, objective and quantitative exploitation of all kinds of image data, but particularly for microscope image data. Definiens Cognition Network Technology® is object-based software that allows users to work independently of the image format to develop special image analysis solutions in the form of rule sets. A scientist develops customized rule sets for the projects to allow precise quantification of the required structures. These individual solutions subsequently allow fully automatic and detailed quantification of objects and structures. The image analysis platform is integrated into BMBF collaboration groups and individual projects, and work with the company Definiens in Munich in the framework of industrial cooperation ensures further scientific development.