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Dynamic visualization of the zebrafish heart: a combination of fast microscopes and 4D reconstruction techniques

M. Liebling

The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Department of Integrated Biosciences
Tokyo, Japan, December 22, 2005.

Abstract With the availability of new confocal laser scanning microscopes, fast biological processes, such as the blood flow in living organisms at early stages of the embryonic development, can be observed with unprecedented time resolution. When the object under study (e.g., a beating embryonic heart) has a periodic motion, the imaging capabilities can be extended to retrieve 4D data. We acquire nongated slice sequences at increasing depths and retrospectively synchronize them to build dynamic 3D volumes. In this seminar, I will present the acquisition and synchronization procedures that we developed for that purpose. The reconstruction algorithm is based on the temporal correlation of wavelet features. It was designed to handle large data sets and to ensure robustness to artifacts such as bleaching, nonuniform contrast, and photon-related noise. Using these methods, we have created four-dimensional working models of the heart at different developmental stages. We were able to extract both qualitative and quantitative information that should contribute to reach a better understanding of the mechanisms that drive the development of the heart.