Theses Doctoral

Development and applications of high speed and hyperspectral nonlinear microscopy

Grosberg, Lauren

Nonlinear microscopy refers to a range of laser scanning microscopy techniques that are based on nonlinear optical processes such as two-photon excited fluorescence and second harmonic generation. Nonlinear microscopy techniques are powerful because they enable the visualization of highly scattering biological samples with subcellular resolution. This capability is especially valuable for in vivo and live tissue imaging since it can provide both structural and functional information about tissues in their native environment. With the use of a range of exogenous dyes and intrinsic contrast, in vivo nonlinear microscopy can be used to characterize and measure dynamic processes of tissues in their normal environment. These advances have been particularly relevant in neuroscience, where truly understanding the function of the brain requires that its neural and vascular networks be observed while undisturbed. Despite these advantages, in vivo nonlinear microscopy still faces several major challenges.

First, observing dynamics that occur in large areas over short time scales, such as neuronal signaling and blood flow, is challenging because nonlinear microscopy generally requires scanning to create an image. This limits the study of dynamic behavior to either a single plane or to a small subset of regions within a volume. Second, applications that rely on the use of exogenous dyes can be limited by the need to stain tissues before imaging, the availability of dyes, and specificity that can be achieved.

Usually considered a nuisance, endogenous tissue contrast from autofluorescence or structures exhibiting second harmonic generation can produce stunning images for visualizing subcellular morphology. Imaging endogenous contrast can also provide valuable information about the chemical makeup and metabolic state of the tissue. Few methods have been developed to carefully and quantitatively examine endogenous fluorescence in living tissues. In this thesis, these two challenges in nonlinear microscopy are addressed. The development of a novel hyperspectral two-photon microscopy method to acquire spectroscopic data from tissues and increase the information available from endogenous contrast is presented. This system was applied to visualize and identify sources of endogenous contrast in gastrointestinal tissues, providing robust references for the assessment of normal and diseased tissues.

Secondly, three methods for high speed volumetric imaging using laser scanning nonlinear microscopy were developed to address the need for improved high-speed imaging in living tissues. A spectrally-encoded high-speed imaging method that can provide simultaneous imaging of multiple regions of the living brain in parallel is presented and used to study spontaneous changes in vascular tone in the brain. This technique is then extended for use with second harmonic generation microscopy, which has the potential to greatly increase the degree of multiplexing. Finally, a complete system design capable of volumetric scan rates >1Hz is shown, offering improved performance and versatility to image brain activity.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Hillman, Elizabeth
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 7, 2013