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30 August 2022

Institute news

The Institute’s sophisticated technology — including a unique microscopy platform — is providing a powerful window into new avenues of exploration and shedding light on important mechanisms of disease.

This incredible technology, which is on display in our latest Appeal to our supporters, includes instruments that allow us to separate components of cells that help us understand the difference between normal cells and diseased cells.

We also have advanced computational systems to help us analyse research data and test tissue samples. We are even developing a new device to help detect and prevent unstable plaques from rupturing to prevent heart attacks.

In fact, it is quite remarkable what this technology can do.

Did you know that our microscopy platform has the power to slice a human hair 600 times? We can also use our platform to observe cells’ responses in real time and we can image cardiac organoids in 3D to watch these tiny 3mm hearts beat and respond to damage or to drugs!

Dr Adam Parslow, who manages our new multiphoton microscopy platform, is a passionate advocate of technology — particularly optical microscopy.

“Microscopy is the technical field of using microscopes to see samples and objects that cannot be seen by the unaided human eye. This powerful platform is helping scientists with projects to advance precision medicine, develop smarter clot busting drugs, and prevent damage after a heart attack,” he says.

“The new multiphoton set-up is a unique system, believed to be the only one like it in the world. The problem with traditional imaging is that if you want to look deep into organs the light becomes too diffracted, meaning tissue must be removed to be examined. Whereas these multiphoton lasers use infra-red wavelengths to allow penetration deep within living samples.”

The microscopy platform provides many researchers at the Baker Institute with education and assisted imaging, as well as analysis across all facets of optical imaging. For example:

  • It allows us to see and measure how fat cells in the human body grow and change when affected by type 2 diabetes, which in turn help us understand how it impacts the heart.
  • It helps us to understand how and where blood clots form, which cause heart attacks and strokes, and test new therapies to treat them on live cells.
  • It also gives us insight into the process that regulate the formation of blood clots to help scientists develop better, and safer, blood thinning drugs.

We’re excited by this powerful technology, which will help us to accelerate our research and allow us to develop better preventive, diagnostic and treatment options for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related conditions.

To learn more about our microscopy work, watch the short video above or check out our supporter section.

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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