The West African Microscopy and BioImage Analysis Network (WAMBIAN) recently held a course at the University of Ghana on the latest techniques in optics, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, and image analysis.
The course was aimed at researchers, technicians, and students who are interested in using microscopy and bioimage analysis techniques to study biological systems. The course was designed to provide participants with hands-on training and exposure to the latest equipment and techniques in the field.
The course began with a thorough introduction to the principles of optics and how they apply to microscopy. Participants were taught about the different types of lenses and how they can be used to achieve different imaging objectives. They were also introduced to the latest advances in fluorescence microscopy, including superresolution techniques such as STED and PALM.
In addition to the theoretical and hands-on training provided in the course, the participants had the opportunity to build an OpenFlexure widefield microscope in small groups. The OpenFlexure microscope is an open-source design that allows for the construction of a high-quality microscope at a fraction of the cost of commercial models. The participants were divided into groups and each group was responsible for building one microscope.
The building process was a great learning experience for the participants as they were able to apply the knowledge they had acquired during the course in a practical setting. They were also able to work in a team and learn from each other. The hands-on experience of building a microscope also helped them to understand the mechanical and optical principles that are involved in the design and construction of a microscope.
Once the microscopes were built, they were tested and calibrated by the participants, who were able to take images of samples and analyze them using the techniques they had learned in the course. The ability to build and use a microscope provides an opportunity for researchers to have access to imaging techniques that would otherwise be out of reach for them.
The course then moved on to the topic of confocal microscopy, which is a powerful technique for imaging thick samples and obtaining high-resolution images. Participants were taught about the different types of confocal microscopes and how they can be used to study a wide range of biological systems.
The final part of the course was focused on image analysis. Participants were introduced to the different software tools that are available for analyzing microscopy images and were taught how to use them to extract quantitative information from their images. They were also taught about the latest advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence and how they can be used to analyze microscopy images.
The course was attended by researchers, students, and technicians from various institutions in West Africa, and it was a great opportunity for them to come together and share their knowledge and experience. The course was a huge success and participants left with a much deeper understanding of the latest techniques in optics, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, and image analysis.
Overall, the WAMBIAN course held at the University of Ghana was a great success and provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the latest techniques in optics, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, and image analysis. The course also provided a platform for networking and collaboration among scientists, students and researchers in West Africa.