Our Core expertise

The Antwerp Centre for Advanced Microscopy (ACAM) of the University of Antwerp provides a high-end microscopy service to image samples at the meso-, micro- and nanometre scale. 

As a microscopy hub, the core facility is equipped with an expanding array of advanced microscopes for:

  • 2D and 3D fluorescence imaging (widefield and confocal)
  • Whole organ(oid) imaging (light sheet)
  • Live cell and functional imaging (spinning disk)
  • High-throughput imaging (automated widefield)
  • Virtual pathology (slide scanning)
  • Photomanipulation and -ablation
  • Laser microdissection and spatial molecular interrogation
  • Ultrastructural and topographical imaging (TEM and SEM)

These advanced microscopy techniques are applied to a broad range of research domains focusing on pre-clinical research i.a. neurobiology, oncology, cardiovascular research, and infectious diseases. 

ACAM provides support on all facets of the microscopy workflow, from setup and sample preparation, image acquisition, down to image and data analysis. The ACAM staff has a long-standing expertise related to sample preparation and histological staining techniques, incl. immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, chemical clearing, incubation with molecular probes etc.

As microscopy has turned into a more quantitative technology, high-dimensional microscopy (high-throughput and deep tissue imaging) is now a flagship technology of the core facility. This is fuelled by active development of in-house image analysis algorithms and tools for effective online image warehousing. 

The group has significant expertise in the field of neuro-imaging. Microscope techniques are applied to study the alterations that take place during neurodegenerative disorders. To this end, we have developed a high-throughput microscopy pipeline for interrogating morphological and functional connectivity in primary neuronal cultures, using a combination of quantitative immunofluorescence and live cell calcium imaging, respectively. The resulting morphofunctional readout allows accurate classification and prediction of the degree of connectivity or maturity of specific neuronal culture and can e.g. be used in preclinical compound screening. At a higher level, a whole brain imaging approach has been optimized based on tissue clearing and light sheet microscopy, which can be used for the non-destructive, high-resolution, volumetric imaging of intact mouse brains.