Imaging Facility

A colorful, very high resolution image of optic nerves

The imaging facility in the Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research houses state-of-the-art microscopes specifically designed for fluorescence imaging in static specimens and living cells and organisms.

Digital microscopy and the discovery of green fluorescent protein (GFP) have led to a transformation in our ability to determine how cells work in health and disease. Imaging approaches are instrumental to nearly every important question in neuroscience–from how axons grow and connect together during development, to how synapses change during learning, to how neuronal function is altered in models of neural disease.

High-end imaging setups

The Jungers Center for Neuroscience Research made significant contributions to the acquisition of many of the high-end imaging setups in the Advanced Light Microscopy Core at The Jungers Center, shared university-wide with all OHSU scientists. The instruments are targeted at imaging the three-dimensional structure of complicated tissues, such as the brain, and at capturing dynamics in brain cells and tissues, benefiting Jungers Center faculty and all other OHSU neuroscientists in particular. Recent technological innovations enhance the spatial resolution of light microscopy into the realm of 'super-resolution' and open new approaches in imaging anatomy without slicing and dicing the brain into small pieces.

Jungers faculty uses the instruments in the imaging facility to capture the transport of proteins in cultured nerve cells (Banker) and in cultured glial cells (Robinson, Emery), to study nerve cell degeneration in model organisms (Unni and Emery in mice, and Logan and Martin in fruit flies), and to characterize nuclear budding events in synaptic function (Speese).

Stefanie Kaech Petrie, who directs the imaging facility, was among the first to adapt GFP technology to image the dynamics in nerve cells and she offers her decade-long expertise in modern light microscopy to all of the OHSU neuroscience community. She teaches courses and organizes workshops for graduate students and postdocs and, together with her colleague Aurelie Snyder, she trains OHSU neuroscientists one-on-one in the use of the facility's instruments.


Stefanie Kaech Petrie and Aurelie Snyder

Stefanie Kaech Petrie, Associate Professor
PhD, Biocenter, University of Basel, 1991
The first time I watched a time-lapse recording of a living cell I became fascinated by the power of digital microscopy. In my opinion, the discovery of GFP and its application to visualize dynamic events inside of cells has revolutionized modern cell biology. I first used this enabling technology to study the structural proteins that give a neuron its shape. My interests then shifted to understand how proteins are transported long-range along axons in cultured nerve cells, which transported me in 2000 from Switzerland to the beautiful Northwest of the US of A to address this crucial aspect of neuronal cell biology with Gary Banker at OHSU. With the move to the Jungers Center I was allowed to redirect my goals to take on the responsibility of the Jungers Center imaging facility where I can share my enthusiasm about the transformative nature of modern microscopy to the scientific endeavor with the next generation of neuroscientists.

Aurelie Snyder, Imaging Specialist
Trained initially as a histology technician, I have witnessed over my career the transformation modern fluorescence microscopy has brought to the study of how cells and tissues function. I am enjoying the challenge of helping OHSU neuroscientists visualize and understand the three-dimensional architecture within cells and complex tissues, a task impossible to grasp from histology sections.