Imaging ONEWORLD - Using the Mesolens for optical mesoscopic imaging with sub-cellular resolution

Scientific Organisers: Stefanie Reichelt, Alex Sossick, Nick Barry, Alessandro Esposito and Kirti Prakash

The meeting will begin at 1pm BST.

As part of the 'Imaging ONEWORLD' series, the focus of these lectures is on microscopy and image analysis methods and how to apply these to your research. Almost all aspects of imaging such as sample preparation, labelling strategies, experimental workflows, ‘how-to’ image and analyse, as well as facilitating collaborations and inspiring new scientific ideas will be covered. Speakers will be available for questions and answers. The organisers, CRUK CI core facility staff, Gurdon Institute, MRC-LMB, MRC Cancer Unit and NPL will be able to continue the discussion and provide advice on your imaging projects.


  • Professor Gail McConnell

    University of Strathclyde
    Gail McConnell is Professor of Biophotonics at the Department of Physics at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. Following a first degree in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics (1998) and PhD in Physics from the University of Strathclyde (2002), she obtained a Personal Research Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2003) and a Research Councils UK Academic Fellowship (2005), securing a readership in 2008 and Chair in 2012. The work in Gail’s group involves the design, development and application of linear and nonlinear optical instrumentation for biomedical imaging, from the nanoscale to the whole organism. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society, where she is the current Chair of the Light Microscopy Committee

Speakers Abstract

For more than a century, the design of microscope objectives has been guided by the angular acuity of the human eye. At 4x magnification, this requires a numerical aperture no greater than 0.1 or 0.2, which can be achieved cheaply and easily by simple optical designs. With the advent of confocal and multiphoton microscopy, however, it became apparent that the poor axial resolution of more than 30 microns with low magnification objectives was intolerable for these 3D methods.

To overcome this, we have developed a new and complex objective with a magnification of 4x and a numerical aperture of just less than 0.5 which we call the Mesolens. A by-product of the high numerical aperture is that the optical throughput is approximately 20x greater than a conventional 4x objective. The pupil size of the lens is so great that it cannot be used with a conventional microscope frame, so we have built the imaging system around the lens, and use either wide-field camera or laser point-scanning detection to create images. We originally specified this lens for mammalian embryology, and have shown that it can image every cell of a 6mm-long embryo 3mm thick with sub-cellular resolution if the tissue is cleared appropriately. However, like the original optical microscope, we have found that the Mesolens has a wide range of applications in biomedical research.

I will present an overview of the Mesolens technology, some examples of new and emerging applications that use this new instrument, and I will explain how we plan to further develop this technology.