On Saturday January 25th, HiveBio welcomed Cortney Bouldin Ph.D. to the community lab space where he presented an introductory course on Microscopy and Developmental Biology using zebrafish embryos and HiveBio’s DIY Microscopes.
Cort began with an introduction about the mechanics of microscopes and showed a diagram of how multiple lenses bend light to display images in compound microscopes. After a brief discussion of developmental biology and zebrafish embryos, Cort continued with the hands-on portion of the class.
The early stages of zebrafish development are remarkably similar to human development, which is why they are used as a model system for biological studies. Cort instructed students on how to pipette a small amount of 24 hour-old zebrafish embryos onto a microscope slide.
Students viewed these embryos using compound microscopes in the HiveBio lab and DIY microscopes using students’ mobile phones. They put a drop of methyl cellulose (the same chemical as in Metamucil) on the slides to induce a “muscle spasm,” a failed attempt by the young embryo to swim away.
Meanwhile, in the other room another DIY microscope was set up running an iPhone app called Timelapse, which collects photos at set intervals. The zebrafish embryos were recorded every 6 seconds, over the course of about two hours.
Cort then introduced the class to Image J, free open-source imaging software originally developed by the NIH. Cort gave a step-by-step tutorial of how to import photos and save a chronological stack of images that can then be used to make a movie. Image J can also be used to label measurements of cell and embryo circumference and diameter. Explaining how these laboratory techniques tie into his research at the University of Washington, students gained insight into how imaging can be used for biological research. Members with little to no lab experience actively participated in discussion throughout the class and left with a greater understanding of microscopy, developmental biology, and some cool photos and video to share with friends and family!
HiveBio would like to generously thank Dr. Cortney Bouldin for volunteering his time to teach a fun and informative class for our seven students on Saturday.