Many powerful modern imaging techniques have recently been developed, yet their exploitation in biology and biomedical research has largely been prevented by the high cost of their translation into widely available instruments and the specialist skills required for their use, including handling the vast volumes of data they generate. As a consequence, instruments developed in laboratories within specific Cambridge research programmes are often not available to the University’s wider biomedical research community. Cambridge aims to overcome this barrier by creating an advanced imaging facility of its own. This will form the hub of a network that draws together imaging activity across the whole University to serve the biomedical community. Development of the Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre (CAIC) is one of the University’s highest strategic priorities.
The Centre will address some of the most pressing needs in modern biological imaging through the customised development of instruments. In order to harness the potential of new technologies most effectively, biological applications and technological solutions must be developed hand-in-hand. By clearly defining what they want to see and measure, biological scientists can help physical scientists devise microscopes that make that vision possible. By augmenting the best commercial and University-developed instruments, the Centre will offer the latest developments in light and electron microscopy, adapted to specific biomedical questions. These instruments will surpass commercial microscopes in capability, whilst being cost-effective in development and maintenance.
This will be achieved by:
- Expansion of the existing Multi-Imaging Centre to create a centre for the development of and access to advanced imaging technologies.
- Establishment as a University Strategic Initiative, widening access to advanced imaging across Cambridge and promoting strong cross-disciplinary collaboration.
- Providing high-volume data management, storage and processing.
- Training current and future generations of multi-disciplinary scientists in advanced imaging techniques.
- Promoting international collaboration with leading institutions.