The Netherlands BioImaging Infrastructure (NL-BI) will focus on advanced (light) microscopy technologies that provide new insight in the molecular functioning of cells in their relevant dynamical context. This mechanistic insight and better understanding of life, will ultimately enable us to improve diagnosis, develop next generation innovative personalized therapies, and make the right socio-economical choices in challenges in sustainable agriculture.
To achieve these aims, NL-BI will develop, integrate, and link state-of-the-art technologies for functional imaging of processes in living cells, tissues in vitro, and live animals with high-content microscopy. This will allow to unravel not only the molecular mechanisms governing and regulating proper cell function, but also phenotypic responses and mechanisms that explain or affect cellular processes underlying human pathology. In this way, NL-BI will enable a broad range of life scientists across the Netherlands and beyond to make ground-breaking discoveries. NL-BI will form a large-scale national infrastructure consisting of seven nodes, in order to:
- develop, apply and validate new molecular probes and biosensors for functional imaging;
- apply fast 3D functional imaging technologies for complex live-cell systems;
- develop and apply high-throughput screening for target finding;
- develop and apply intravital nonlinear microscopy for instance to validate targets in the in vivo situation;
- bridge scales by correlated light and electron microscopy of 3D volumes;
- establish ‘on-the-fly’ data analysis during timelapse microscope acquisition to enable specific event recognition and establish smart microscopy for feedback mechanisms;
- facilitate a national network for FAIR image data management that provides infrastructure and training, and easy-to-use workflows and pipelines for data analysis of biological images powered by state-of-the-art neural networks.
These priorities are underscored by an in-depth survey of Dutch life scientists, ranging from holders of prestigious grants to large research consortia, as well as all national microscopy core facilities. To realize the envisioned infrastructure, expert centers in the Netherlands will be supported to further develop probes, hardware, and software to advance microscopy of live specimens and at high throughput. Access-to-all will be supported by the core facilities already organized in NL-BI, while data management, access, and analysis will be supported by a national team.
NL-BI will take on the challenge of structured image data-management following the FAIR principles, coordinated by a new NL-BI node-overarching data network and link all Dutch microscopy facilities, and enable mining and linking the generated large amounts of image data with novel artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Thereby, a repository of openly available computational tools will be linked to data analysis expertise for nationwide distribution and imaging facility staff training (‘train the trainers concept’). The NL-BI network of image data experts will closely collaborate with the general data services team of the ESFRI infrastructure Euro-BioImaging to follow international standards