OUR THOUGHTS ON REPRODUCIBILITY IN MICROSCOPY
We have several news, which are all connected by the topic of reproducibility in microscopy. This is something we care about a lot in Interherence and we design our products so that they, besides other innovations, also improve reproducibility of imaging experiments.
Dr. Jaroslav Icha
All Things Photonics podcast
Interherence was featured in “All Things Photonics” podcast from Photonics Media. Our CEO Pierre Türschmann spoke about reproducibility in microscopy and our aim to contribute to it with VAHEAT by precise temperature control directly in the field of view as well as by temperature logging during the experiments. Another topic discussed in the podcast was phototoxicity, which is a common problem in live sample imaging threatening reproducibility of the experiments. Illumination in fluorescence microscopy is something we will address with our future products that we are currently developing.
We have just registered into the QUAREP-LiMi initiative and we plan to work towards more reproducible environmental control in microscopy. This initiative was formed in 2020 by light microscopy core facility staff, individual researchers as well as industry representatives. It describes itself as “a community endeavor to advance quality assessment and reproducibility in light microscopy”. In 2021 it published its first white paper and a publication in Nature Methods suggesting QC guidelines for microscopy. There are eleven working groups focusing on various aspects of image acquisition, data handling and experiment reporting. There is however no working group yet focused on environmental conditions during microscopy experiments. We will participate in the QUAREP discussions during the upcoming ELMI2021 meeting and perhaps we will help to form working group no. 12 focused on this topic.
Reproducibility in microscopy publication
The increasing interest in reproducibility in microscopy is also exemplified by an article by Montero Llopis et al. in this issue of Nature Methods. The paper is focused on guidelines and checklists for writing rigorous and reproducible methods sections of publications using microscopy, mainly in biomedical research. The authors discuss all the steps from sample preparation to image data handling. We were pleased to read that they also consider environmental conditions as very important. We agree with them that reporting just the incubation temperature is not enough. In our opinion the following information should be included: how the temperature of the sample directly in the field of view was measured and maintained, with what instrument, how it was calibrated and how stable it was over time.
Montero Llopis wrote: “Most biological samples require an optimal temperature range to carry out biological processes. Precise control of the environmental conditions is critical to ensure normal cell physiology and function, including growth rate and molecular dynamics. The hardware used to maintain temperature, gas and humidity vary widely and will offer different stability and levels of control over these conditions. Thus, a description of the specific environmental conditions and how these are maintained will greatly improve accuracy, precision and reproducibility.“
We also recommend their Extended Fig. 1, which summarizes the main concepts in the paper.
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