Laboratory for Nonlinear Bioimaging

The Laboratory for Nonlinear Optical Microscopy is a bioimaging facility specialized in multi-photon fluorescence microscopy in-vivo. To learn more about our research activities and available Master-, PhD- or PostDoc positions please contact:

Laboratory members: 

The currently ongoing Research projects are:


Insect Brain Imaging

We use models like the honey bee for fundamental studies of signal processing in intermediate size neural networks. The bee with its less than 106 neurons and yet highly developed cognition and learning capabilities is an ideal specimen. Its brain size of approximately 1mm3 allows almost complete optical access thanks to the high penetration depth of two-photon microscopy. Combined morpho-functional in-vivo imaging allows studying spatial and temporal signal processing of odour stimuli applied to the insect's antennas. Questions of special interests are a possible lateralization within the odour-processing network and neuroplasticity induced by odour learning

a) Full brain projection view (b) Image stack Antennal Lobe (c) 3D reconstructed Antennal Lobe

Project partners

Recent publications

 The project is co-funded by the Provincia autonoma di Trento, Unita’ di ricerca COMNFI 2006 and IBRAIM 2011.

Optical Tomography of Skin Lesions

We are developing non-invasive diagnostic methods for skin cancer. The focus is on the assessment of melanocytic lesions to distinguish malignant from begin lesions. The applied techniques are two-photon and second-harmonic-generation microscopy. Both techniques are particularly suited for this purpose due to their high spatial resolution and imaging depth and their low photo-damage, with respect to conventional optical imaging techniques. After studies of photo-damage limits in deep tissue imaging, a clinical study on suspicious nevi is performed.

Comparison: Histological H&E Gold standard and Two-photon auto-fluorescence image

Project partners

 The project is co-funded by the Provincià autonoma di Trento, Bando di progetti per la ricerca sanitaria finalizzata 2009.

Sub-micron Containers for Drug Delivery

We produce sub-micron sized containers in diverse forms and compositions based on Calcium carbonate. Their synthesis is optimized regarding, form, size, and payload adsorption properties. The drug release dynamics is studied and its active control is one of the main goals of the project. The containers’ bio-compatibility and the penetration and transport dynamics in biological system are examined. Our drug-delivery systems stand out due to their simplicity and cost-effectiveness, their bio-compatibility and universal applicability.

Yellow: Dye-loaded Vaterite containers, Blue: recrystallized Calcite crystals after dye release

Project partners

Recent publications

 The project is co-funded by the Provincià autonoma di Trento, Marie Curie Actions, Trentino COFUND 2009


Intra-cellular localization and trafficking of RNASET2

We study the cancer-antagonizing gene RNASET2 within cultured HeLa cells and the influence of the enzymatic functionality of the ribonuclease on the gene trafficking, since it was found to affect tumor growth. The applied method is Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching (FRAP) which allows comparing the intra-cellular dynamics of the wild-type gene and an activity deficient mutant.

Left) Sample images from an experimental sequence. Right) Averaged fluorescence recovery cuves

Project partners

Recent publications