Pair-up workshops bring black imaging scientists together 

Earlier this year, the American Society for Cell Biology announced the launch of Pair-Up, a network of Black Imaging Scientists founded by ASCB Fellow George Langford. Pair-Up hosted its first workshop in May at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Cell Imaging Shared Resource (CISR) and BioPhotonics Center in the School of Engineering. Pair-Up stands for Partnering to Advance Imaging Research for Underrepresented Minority Scientists. 

The CISR manages 16 microscopes; 14 advanced optical microscopes, one transmission electron microscope, and an environmental scanning electron microscope. For this workshop, the overarching theme was light sheet microscopy. This process can create 3D images to analyze entire biological systems, even living systems, without exposing the sample to toxicity or intense photo-bleaching. Participants got hands-on experience with a Zeiss Z1 Light Sheet Microscope (LSM), Zeiss LSM 880 with Airyscan, Nikon SIM, and a Biophotonics pre-commercial Lattice Light Sheet microscope. 

“I walked into the workshop eager to learn about the latest imaging methods and walked away with so much more,” said Angela Dixon, an assistant biology professor at Case Western Reserve University. “I received the knowledge of advanced imaging approaches, a seasoned mentor (George Langford) with a vested interest in my success, and new colleagues that I can consult with for support and also collaborate with on new and exciting imaging-based research.” 

Pair-Up will host its second workshop on October 4-7 at The Rockefeller University Bio-Imaging Resource Center (BRC), led by Alison North, the BRC’s Senior Director and a research associate professor. Participants will have a chance to learn about and use a Facility Line STED confocal (Abberior) microscope, an OMX 3D-SIM Super-Resolution Microscope, an InstantSIM (iSIM) Real-time SuperResolution System, and a Zeiss LSM 980 confocal with Airyscan2. 

The theme of the October workshop centers on quantitative fluorescence microscopy. Workshop participants will be able to learn advanced fluorescence microscopy and super-resolution techniques for live cell imaging. They will learn firsthand how to obtain quantitative data using each instrument and learn image acquisition, image processing, and analysis. To read some background research on the concepts to be presented, go to this opinion piece, Hypothesis-driven quantitative fluorescence microscopy – the importance of reverse-thinking in experimental design, written by researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus

Find out more about Pair-Up and register for upcoming workshops at the Pair-Up website at

About the Author:

Mary Spiro is ASCB's Strategic Communications Manager.