New life science Imaging Centre preparing for user access

The EMBL Imaging Centre is preparing for external user access, after an on-time and on-budget build and handover to the science team.

Photo of a building with blue sky in the background
The Imaging Centre at EMBL Heidelberg will offer the most advanced high-resolution electron and light microscopy technologies. Image credit: Kinga Lubowiecka/EMBL

The Imaging Centre is expected to welcome its first users in a pilot phase later this summer, followed by the first open call for users in autumn 2021.

EMBL Director General Professor Edith Heard says: “The opening of the Imaging Centre at EMBL’s main site in Heidelberg, Germany, is an important moment for the European science community. Research in the life sciences is being revolutionised by advances in imaging, genomics, and gene editing, and provision of access to advanced technologies is key to enabling scientific progress.”

“I hope that the EMBL Imaging Centre will play a significant role in shaping a new era in the life sciences, and that scientists from many different areas will benefit from it. EMBL has pioneered many of the imaging technologies that scientists use today, and the Imaging Centre will provide a unique opportunity to benefit from such technology development.”

The Imaging Centre will offer the most advanced high-resolution electron and light microscopy technologies, including academically developed methods that are not yet commercially available, and will build on EMBL’s decades-long history of world-class service provision for life science research.

Delivery truck at loading bay
Unloading and unpacking new instruments into the EMBL Imaging Centre. Image credit: Kinga Lubowiecka/EMBL

A governance and advisory structure for the centre has been established to help ensure that the highest possible scientific and technical standards are achieved, and to ensure that EMBL can obtain independent external advice on technology strategy as well as the project prioritisation of the new service unit.

An International Microscopy Advisory Panel will offer EMBL external advice on strategic issues, including technology development. An independent external Project Evaluation Committee with broad representation from EMBL’s member states will provide scientific evaluation and ranking of project proposals from users.

Dr Jan Ellenberg has been appointed as Head of the Imaging Centre, in addition to his role as Head of EMBL’s Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit.

Dr Ellenberg says: “EMBL is now approaching globally recognised life science experts to serve on the Advisory Panel and Evaluation Committee, and we expect to confirm the membership in the coming weeks.”

Dr Christoph Müller was named as Deputy Head, in addition to his role as Head of EMBL’s Structural and Computational Biology Unit. EMBL Director of Scientific Services and Core Facilities Dr Rainer Pepperkok will lead the service provision aspects of the centre.

The centre’s two new team leaders, Simone Mattei and Timo Zimmermann, and their service staff are very much looking forward to welcoming and supporting users from EMBL’s member states and beyond.

Information on user access and technical capabilities is available from the EMBL Imaging Centre webpage.

The creation of the Imaging Centre was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg, with donations by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and HeidelbergCement, as well as in-kind contributions by EMBL industry partners Carl Zeiss Microscopy, Leica Microsystems, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Abberior Instruments.

Tags: core facility, ellenberg, facility, heidelberg, imaging centre, mattei, microscopy, müller, zimmermann

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