Sandia National Laboratories provides spectral solutions for important problems at the interface between biology and chemistry. Our researchers are using advanced imaging and analysis tools to unravel spatial and temporal relationships in biological systems in the following areas: bioenergy, biomaterials, cognition, and infection and immunity.
Sandia’s hyperspectral fluorescence imaging system can distinguish
between hundreds of dyes used to image biomass, as shown by these
cross-sectional images of a corn leaf using hyperspectral fluorescence
(left) and a commercial filter (right).
As a leader in hyperspectral fluorescence-imaging systems, Sandia has designed 2-D and 3-D hyperspectral fluorescence microscopes and has developed proprietary multivariate algorithms and software to extract quantitative image information from hyperspectral data. Our new technologies improve microarray analysis and enable live-cell imaging at diffraction-limited spatial resolution.
Other examples of Sandia’s advanced imaging and analysis tools include the following:
- Image-correlation, particle-tracking tandem methods
- Multivariate image analysis
- Single-molecule imaging with quantum dots
- Spatial and temporal correlation spectroscopy
- Spectrally resolved lifetime imaging
- Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy
- Vibrational spectroscopy and imaging
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Areas of Application
Sandia researchers are genetically modifying biomass to embed enzymes that
naturally break down lignocellulosic cell walls. Hyperspectral imaging
is used to visualize the embedded enzymes.
- Deconstruction of plant biomass for biofuel production. Using hyperspectral imaging to find proteins relevant to the endogenous enzyme deconstruction of cellulose so that future synthetic-biology projects can facilitate biofuel production by selectively turning on cellulose breakdown genes.
- Spatial mapping of photosynthetic pigments in biomass feedstock. Blending hyperspectral imaging and multivariate analysis tools to help Monsanto, a leading U.S. agricultural biotechnology company, understand, develop, and improve methodologies for converting biomass and grains to transportation fuels.
- Tandem monitors of lipid triggers in biofuel-producing algae. Combining high-speed and high-spectral resolution imaging methods with electrophysiology to understand the triggers of lipid production in algae.
- Distinguishing fluorophores at the single-molecule level. Using time-resolved multispectral confocal microscopy to generate fluorescence spectra and lifetimes, enabling researchers to distinguish fluorophores at the single-molecule level.
- Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based sensing of chemical properties. Using quantum dot–organic dye hybrids for the FRET-based sensing of chemical properties in nanoscale environments.
- Micromixers for eliminating the biofouling of reverse-osmosis membranes. Combining a computational approach with 3-D hyperspectral imaging to design reverse-osmosis filters that are resistant to biofouling.
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High-resolution hyperspectral images of rat brain hippocampal tissue, which have been used with multivariate-curve resolution to examine neural circuits for the National Institutes of Health.
- Genetic mapping of functional neural networks and circuits. Combining hyperspectral line scanning, 3-D hyperspectral imaging, and multivariate analysis to detect multiple brain tissue markers and provide the local concentrations of each marker. This work is part of a greater effort funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Arizona to examine neural circuits at various scales.
- Imaging live macrophage cells. Using hyperspectral fluorescence imaging to observe how E. coli invades innate immune-system macrophage cells.
- Obtaining a clear view of cellular processes. Using time-resolved multispectral microscopy to investigate cellular processes.
- Resolving cell-signaling dynamics via real-time imaging of the immunological synapse. Investigating protein–protein interactions by using real-time imaging of cell membranes with TIRF and computational modeling.
- Virulence membrane protein organization and complex formation in Francisella novicida. Using hyperspectral imaging to observe the interactions of F. novicida virulence proteins with the immune cell, including tracking protein localization in the individual bacteria and bacteria propagation in the host cell.
These hyperspectral images of F. novicida show how virulence proteins (green) attack immune cells (red), beginning at 40 minutes after infection.
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