Twitter Q&A

Ozama Ismail, Research Operations Manager, and Holly Holmes, PhD student, of University College London's Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (CABI) hosted a Twitter chat on Tuesday 24 June to talk about gaining a window into another world.

Read the storify of the Twitter Q&A.

Find out more about other exhibits hosting Q&As.

Hands-on at this exhibit

  • See captivating displays of fluorescent creatures
  • Build a microscope of the future
  • Image mystery objects using sound waves
  • Create geometric shapes using sugar
  • Transmit music using a beam of light


Further reading

Walker-Samuel, S. et al. 2013 In vivo imaging of glucose uptake and metabolism in tumors. Nature Medicine 19, 1067-1072

Laufer, J. et al. 2012 In vivo photoacoustic imaging of mouse embryos. Journal of Biomedical Optics 17, 0612201-0612208

Norris, F.C. et al. 2013 A coming of age: advanced imaging technologies for characterising the developing mouse. Trends in Genetics 29, 700–711

Most people have been the subject of thousands of photographs, which contribute to their complex sense  of identity. But they know very little about what goes on beneath the surface. Biomedical imaging has undergone phenomenal developments in the last hundred years, from  Roentgen’s revolutionary discovery of X-rays, to the modern day brain scan. Our exhibit explores imaging techniques of the future and how they will allow us to see inside the body.

We've seen phenomenal developments in biomedical imaging in the last hundred years, including a new technique that can make the body 'light up'! Explore the imaging techniques of the future and how they will allow us to see inside the body.

The next generation of imaging tools have taken ideas from nature, such as bioluminescence from fireflies and fluorescence from jellyfish, to illuminate cellular and molecular events deep inside living tissues.

Copying naturally occurring phenomena such as bioluminescence or fluorescence, we can gain a window into another world, and show how new imaging techniques, such as Light-Sheet Imaging can make the body ‘light up’ – literally! Yet it is not just examples from living organisms, but also foods. Recently we published a new MRI technique in Nature Medicine called GlucoCEST, which ‘lights up’ tumours by giving patients a sugary drink. We also look into an emerging technique, known as Photoacoustic Imaging, which converts light into ultrasound inside the body to show the growth of blood vessel around tumours.

Throughout the exhibition, the Imaging Team look at the images changing our world, together with some of the most significant techniques in the history of medical imaging - from ultrasound to MRI scans - discovering how the ability to see inside our bodies, right down to our broken bones and dividing cells, has so significantly changed the way we think about ourselves.

Lead image: An image of the heart created using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Muscle fibres are represented by coloured tracts spiralling around the ventricles, demonstrating the complex 3D architecture of the cardiac muscle.