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Workshop Objectives

The workshop will introduce students exclusively from Africa to a wide diversity of topics pertinent to imaging, including:

  • Principles of microscopy, such as the fundamentals of optics, digital detectors, wide-field microscopy, laser scanning confocal, deconvolution, spinning disk confocal, and TIRF.

  • Molecular imaging tools, including the design and application of biosensors, optogenetics, chemogenetics, ‘caged’ small molecules, and engineered allosteric responses.

  • Advanced imaging approaches and techniques, such as FRAP, FRET, photoconversion, lightsheet, and super-resolution microscopy.

  • Sample preparation and maintenance of specimens for live imaging.

  • Digital image processing and quantitative image data analysis. 

  • The combined use of these various microscopy techniques in infectious disease research.

  • Applicability of microscopy in research within Africa.

  • Developing skills in scientific communication, proposal writing, and reporting of microscopy data.


Teaching Faculty

          Teng-Leong Chew, HHMI Janelia Research Campus
          Dan Fletcher, University of California–Berkeley
          Klaus Hahn, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
          Musa Mhlanga, University of Cape Town         

          Kelly Rogers, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
          Digby Warner, University of Cape Town


Workshop Format

Lectures will serve as the introduction to the various topics including the fundamentals of microscopy, optogenetics, fluorescence probes, lightsheet microscopy, super-resolution techniques, mobile microscopes, image processing, and data analysis.

Hands-on Laboratory Sessions
Lab sessions will provide practical, hands-on experience where participants will be exposed to a multitude of imaging platforms and techniques. Participants will be guided through microscopy-based experimentation (set-up and acquisition) with hands-on operation of microscopes that will highlight the utility and strength of each modality. They will be challenged to approach research questions from different perspectives, in order to develop skills in experimental design driven by quantitative biological inquiry. Subsequently, participants will leverage what they have learned in class to perform image analysis on the acquired data. This will culminate in a final class project aimed at developing writing and communication skills.

Imaging Africa will also include a 1-day research symposium open to all. This is an opportunity to showcase what is possible when advanced microscopy techniques are optimally applied to address important biological questions. The unique focus of the symposium is to highlight emerging technologies that are accessible to African scientists.


The Imaging Africa workshop will foster an ideal environment and opportunity to grow and develop research questions and ideas, develop new collaborations, and expose researchers to different perspectives and possibilities. The faculty will be available throughout the workshop to provide insight and suggestions to any and all research ideas, providing expert opinion with the intent to grow exciting and new ideas as well as positively influence the future careers of African researchers.

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