Strengthening molecular imaging in the scientific community

The NorMIC series of workshops has established itself as an important platform for Norway and Scandinavia-based biomedical researchers to gain scientific knowledge of optical microscopy.

Five people in a lab looking at microscopy equipment on a table
Felix Margadant demonstrating how to assemble the 3D printed spinning disk "macroscope" to the students during the 8th NorMIC workshop held on the 3rd of May 2022 at NCMM. Photo: Edna Xian Hu
Lighted laboratory equipment in a dimly lit room.
PC Cheng demonstrating the ray optics of TIRF(total internal reflection) to the students. Photo: Edna Xian Hu
Five people looking at computer screens and equipment in a lab
Vendor demonstrating a super resolution microscope to the students. Photo: Edna Xian Hu
Photo of about 20 people standing outside
Group photo of the participants at the 8th NorMIC workshop at NCMM Photo: Edna Xian Hu

This article originally appeared on the NCMM website:

The NorMIC workshops are included in Nordic EMBL Partnership Hub Courses supported by NordForsk.

On May the 3rd 2022, the 8th NorMIC Biological Optical Microscopy workshop hosted by the Department of Biosciences (IBV) and the Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM) took place at the Norwegian Molecular Imaging Consortium (NorMIC) imaging platform in IBV. This workshop was the first physical workshop after the COVID-19 pandemic and was concluded successfully with more than 45 participants in attendance. Due to the remaining travel restrictions, the majority of the participants came from Norway, apart from one student joining from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK and one EuroBioImaging travel grant fellowship winning student from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

The workshop aimed at demonstrating an overview of the scientific principles of various aspects of modern biological microscopes to biological researchers (PhD students, engineers, postdocs and young PIs). 

A robust scientific field in its own right 

Optical imaging is a technique that enables biological events to observed and studied directly at the place where they take place at a microscopic level, providing crucial information on biological processes that would be hard to obtain by biochemical methods. In recent years, imaging technique has becoming increasingly crucial for biomedical researchers. The Nobel Prizes of 2008, 2014, 2017 were awarded to researchers developing methods for microscopy techniques.  

NorMIC is the headquarter node of the national infrastructure NALMIN (Norwegian Advanced Light Microscopy Imaging Network).  NALMIN is a network of scientists and engineers working within high end molecular imaging in Norway, with nodes in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Tromsø and Trondheim. Each year, the NorMIC node hosts two NorMIC workshops, one for image acquisition and the other for image processing, aimed at providing researchers and engineers with an overview of the field of optical imaging. 

Our workshop is not only a teaching workshop, it also serves as a mini-microscopy conference for local imaging scientist communities. We take in 20 to 25 students each workshop,  we usually have more than 20 teaching staff. Amongst these teaching staff, we have a nice mixture of international teaching faculty, local imaging scientists and industry participants.  Since the lectures are open to public for free, many unlisted local imaging scientist will visit our workshop and participate. During the workshop, other than the teaching activity, we exchange ideas, try new microscopes and enjoys the workshops as much as our students, says Edna Xian Hu, the main organizer of the NorMIC workshop series.

Industry relevant connections 

The workshops are hands-on with established microscopy companies sending their best specialists visit and some times their newest microscope to demonstrations. This year, participants also had the opportunity to hear from an exciting start-up company from Tromsø called Chip Nanoimaging.

We usually invite well established microscopy companies to join our workshop as hands-on microscope stations. However, this year we also invited a Norwegian spin off microscopy company, Chip Nanoimaging, to participate in the workshop as one of the main microscopy stations. Chip nanoimaging is a start-up company from Tromsø, one of NALMIN nodes - it is relatively young but we wanted to provide a platform for our colleagues to demonstrate and promote their research product, says Edna Xian Hu. 

The full list of teaching faculties and researchers involved during the workshop can be found via the event page