Caroline Magnain Joins $17 Million Initiative to Bring More Optical Imaging Expertise to Biomedical Research

The Martinos Center’s Caroline Magnain

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has announced the Martinos Center’s Caroline Magnain as one of 17 CZI investigators — engineers, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and biologists with expertise in technology development — participating in a $17 million Imaging Scientists program. The imaging of molecules, cells and tissues remains central to both biomedical research and clinical practice, yet progress in the imaging field has been slowed by inadequate software and limited sharing of advanced microscopy methods. To address this insufficiency, the new program will support better tools and increased collaboration between optical engineers and biomedical researchers.

The Imaging Scientists will work at imaging centers across the United States and interface between biology, microscopy hardware and imaging software to accelerate progress in the imaging field, enabling biologists to leverage modern technology for microscopy data.

“Microscopy is a critical tool that allows researchers to actually see biology and life happen instead of just inferring from disparate data points,” said CZI co-founder Priscilla Chan. “Our hope is that microscopy will help scientists identify the causes and effects of diseases. We need to keep advancing these tools to make big breakthroughs in understanding disease. One of the ways we’re helping to accelerate scientific progress is by creating connections that otherwise wouldn’t have existed — it’s our hope that by bringing together biologists, clinicians and engineers, we can drive important advances in the field.”

During the past decade, technical advances in imaging dramatically increased the resolution of light microscopy and electron microscopy. Yet many of these new microscopes have not been commercialized, and software for analyzing these new kinds of data lags behind the advances made in hardware. Improved technological tools and increased interaction between technology experts and biologists will allow biomedical science to push forward even more quickly to cure disease.

“I am delighted and honored that the Martinos Center and I were awarded the CZI Imaging Scientists fellowship early this year,” said Magnain. “This program brings together imaging scientists and imaging software developers from all around the United States, establishing a great network focused on improving and disseminating imaging technologies to biomedical scientists.

“The field of biomedical imaging is constantly evolving and adding new and exciting capabilities: We can image faster, at higher resolution, deeper into the biological tissue, with larger samples and with greater specificity thanks to the development of new optical probes and technologies. The CZI Imaging Scientists program will help to advance the optical imaging core and disseminate our technologies to the broader research community at the Martinos Center, at MGH, and in the Boston area.”