Zooming in on Excellence

16 October 2019
VIB and Nikon are happy to announce that they are extending their partnership, as the VIB-KU Leuven BioImaging Core is becoming a Nikon Center of Excellence. This is good news for the scientific community that has a need for excellent imaging equipment. 

Joining forces
The supplier of leading-edge imaging equipment, Nikon, and the scientific leadership of the VIB Imaging core join forces in the new Nikon Center of Excellence. This center marks a state-of-the-art imaging facility established as a partnership between a leading research institute, the VIB, and Nikon. 

Nikon and VIB strongly believe that an open exchange between academia and industry is decisive for the rapid advancement of science and technology. Therefore, the Center of Excellence will be the go-to place for showcasing the latest technology and advanced training for researchers and company representatives alike. Most importantly, knowledge transfer and measurement opportunities will enable excellent research together with the neighboring communities in this setting that is unique in Belgium. 

Better equipment for better insights
The announcement of the Center of excellence goes hand in hand with a scientific symposium and a celebration. Patrik Verstreken, the director of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain and Disease Research, the hosting center of the VIB Core facility Leuven, is enthusiastic: “This is a great opportunity. We need the best equipment, and we need it now.”

The colleagues from the KU Leuven that are working hard to provide the best environment in which such core facilities can thrive for example through dedicated space in the newly built O&N5 on the Gasthuisberg campus were equally enthusiastic. 
Currently, the people at the BioImaging Core are busy with the latest addition to the machinery park, an automated slide scanner. With this device, for example, sections of mouse models for neurodegenerative diseases can be analyzed in an increasingly automated fashion. This will enable the researchers to look at earlier time-points of diseases and quantify multiple aspects like the plaque burden in Alzheimer’s disease faster and in more detail. 

Research meets industry
Geert Van Minnebruggen (VIB Head of Core Facilities): “Generally, such company and research institute partnerships are important in modern life science research. Through this interaction we are able to have demo instruments and do beta testing. Via this interaction, the core facility provides access to state-of-the-art machinery and provides measurement time.”

The opportunity to test new devices and to see what applications can benefit from them is a great advantage and directly fuels into excellence science. The company, in turn, gains feedback from key users fueling into its development pipeline. In addition, they have access to an ideal environment where they can demo their devices and where customers can provide feedback on samples, based on daily experience. The company can also learn about other aspects of the imaging process such as the analysis and storage of the images. 

Sebastian Munck (Expert technologist of the VIB Imaging Core): “The key to success is to start with the best images possible, as this will determine the potential of the discovery. Therefore, the partnership between the VIB and Nikon is a big chance and will be an attraction pole for researchers near and far.”

---