Learning Zone

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03 - 06 July 2017, Manchester, UK

The Learning Zone - the opportunity to 'Ask the Experts'

The Learning Zone is a tremendous free feature of the exhibition which is open to all visitors and conference delegates. It has been a major part of our flagship event since 2002.

The Learning Zone has its own seminar theatre hosting its own daily programme of introductory talks. The programmes are available to view online, take a look.

It is a place where you can speak to experts, learn something new, ask questions, and develop your knowledge. Do bring your samples and ask for advice. There are different zones covering different specialist areas – Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Light Microscopy, Digital Imaging Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, and Light Sheet Microscopy.

Scanning Electron Microscopy

Are you experiencing difficulties in obtaining good SEM images of your samples? Do you wish to find out whether SEM is the appropriate technique to apply to your specimens? Or do you just want to know more about the potential of the SEM? Come along to the EM Zone.

We will have some SEM advanced tuition modules available (with experts on hand) and short talks on achieving the most from your SEM by focusing on optimising instrument performance (guns, columns, detectors etc), choosing the right approach for differing sample applications and looking at new approaches such as 3D SEM, FIB etc. We will have a tabletop SEM on the Zone and a number of exhibitors will have SEMs on their stands, so please make sure you visit these stands while you are in the exhibition.

Transmission Electron Microscopy

Transmission Electron Microscopy will again be part of the Learning Zone, with a short talk given on Thursday morning. The talk is aimed at both new users of a TEM and those who want to understand what their TEM colleagues get up to. As such it will cover the basics of imaging and analysis, as well as some of the new developments including aberration correction. There will be an opportunity to ask the lecturer questions straight after the talk, or afterwards in the Learning Zone seating area where topics can be explored in greater depth.

Light Microscopy

The light microscope is one of the most important and widely-used scientific instruments, and an in-depth understanding of its operation is essential to ensure you are using it to its best advantage.

The Learning Zone will offer help and advice on transmitted- and reflected-light microscopy, from basic principles to specialised techniques. Bring your questions to us, no matter how simple or complex; we will do our best to help. This zone will feature a range of light microscopes from basic to advanced.

Each day there will be an illustrated talk in the seminar theatre, aimed at helping you understand how your microscopes work, and how they should best be used.

Digital Imaging Microscopy

The use of digital cameras has opened up modern computing power to microscopy. In the Digital Imaging Zone, we will guide you through what sort of developments in camera technology have become available, talking through advantages, disadvantages and applications of each technology. Important points will include how camera resolution relates to microscope resolution, camera sensitivity versus noise, and imaging speed amongst others.

With a number of workstations available, you will also have an opportunity to explore various methods of digital image processing and analysis. For this we will use ImageJ/Fiji, which is freely available online and widely used by the scientific community for image processing and analysis. We will cover basic topics like, data types, data handling, segmentation, automatic measurements, filtering and others. We will also cover more specific topics like deconvolution, image tiling of large areas, extended depth of field, topography (surface roughness) and co-localisation.

Confocal Microscopy

Confocal Microscopy is an optical sectioning technique which enables us to look non-invasively into cells and tissues and build up a three-dimensional image of these. The technique is widely-used in universities, research institutions, hospitals and industry.

The seminar theatre will host two informal, introductory talks on Confocal Microscopy on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. We will also be demonstrating the two main designs of confocal microscope; the point-scanning confocal and the multiple-beam (spinning disc) confocal. The point-scanner can precisely optically section a sample, whilst the spinning disc system is good for rapidly capturing images of moving samples. We will have an example of a spinning disc confocal microscope available.

By visiting the Confocal Zone we can help you to explore and understand the advantages of each of these instruments and provide guidance on how they work. We will be on hand to answer any questions you may have, for example on; image acquisition, single image collection, Z-stack formation, 3D and 4D reconstruction.

Light Sheet Microscopy

Light sheet microscopy allows 3D imaging over large volumes and long time courses by illumination of only one plane at a time in a sample (often a whole organism or organ), with a fluorescence image captured from the illuminated plane. Also often described as Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM), this technique dramatically reduces phototoxicity and bleaching compared with other methods.

We will introduce the technique with a talk on Tuesday afternoon and explain principles and protocols by referring to the OpenSPIM, a small, simple example of a light sheet microscope which we will demonstrate.

RMS Zone

Running alongside the Learning Zone will be the RMS Zone. This area offers a more relaxed spot to find out about the Royal Microscopical Society, with information on membership, future events and training courses as well as a chance to meet a number of our Council, committee and staff members. You can also find out more about the Society’s outreach projects such as its recognised qualification, the RMS Diploma and the RMS Microscope Activity Kits - the successful scheme of free microscopes and activities sent out to UK Primary Schools each term.




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mmc2017 is the latest in an impressive list of events dating back to the 1960s starting with the Micro conference and exhibition series. This later became MicroScience which grew ever-bigger until 2010. The RMS hosted the European Microscopy Congress in 2012 which was the catalyst for the current Microscience Microscopy Congress series.

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