BioImaging and Spectroscopy Core Facility (BISCF) was established in September 2018 as a result of the integration of instrumentation and methodological bases of three laboratories at two Skoltech research centers: the plasmonics laboratory (established in 2016, headed by Prof. Drachev V.P.) and the biophotonics laboratory (established in 2017, headed by Prof. Gorin D.A.) of the center of photonics and quantum materials (CPQM), as well as RNA delivery laboratory (established in 2016, headed by Prof. Zatsepin T.S.) of the center of life sciences (CLS). Laboratory staff are highly qualified specialists with experience in leading research centers abroad.
Over the past few decades, the role of photonics has increased not only in IT, so the application of photonic methods in biology and medicine in solving various problems is growing avalanche-like. Miniature integrated optoelectronic sensors connected to information networks are capable of making a revolution in biology and healthcare. The development of personalized medicine will lead to an increase in the diagnostics and treatment quality and make possible the concept of preventive medicine. The establishment of BISCF is aimed at developing new complex systems, including rapid diagnostics and continuous monitoring of the body state at three levels – cellular, tissue, and systemic.
The main task of BISCF is to use modern methods of visualization and spectroscopy to solve interdisciplinary problems arising at the interface of materials science, photonics, electronics and biomedicine in the interests of Skoltech, Skolkovo ecosystem participants, as well as external customers.
The Facility is equipped with modern equipment that allows solving visualization and spectroscopy problems at three levels: nano, micro and macroscopic. Dynamic light scattering to determine the size and electrokinetic potential, super high resolution microscopy (STED – Stimulated Emission Depletion, FLIM – Fluorescence Life-time Imaging Microscopy) are effective methods at the subcellular level. For studies at the cellular level, BISCF offers fluorescence flow cytometry, confocal fluorescence microscopy for long-term cell culture measurements, spectroscopy and Raman microscopy (Raman spectroscopy with confocal resolution). Projects at the macro level, i.e. the level of tissues and the organism as a whole, will be supported by tools for optoacoustic scanning microscopy, fluorescence tomography combined with X-ray tomography. Part of the equipment at BISCF is unique for Russia, and the combination of several modern techniques and equipment in this Facility makes it unique at the world level.
It is also intended to use the equipment of the Facility to ensure the educational process in Skoltech, primarily for the performance of qualifying works, including Master’s and PhD theses. The Facility will carry out laboratory classes as part of training courses at Skoltech, such as biomedical applications of photonics, physics of colloids and phase boundaries, nanooptics, solid state physics, instrumental methods of molecular biology, RNA biology, etc.