ABOUT THE PRACTICAL COURSE
This EMBO Practical Course offers the opportunity to acquire a portfolio of cutting edge EM methods; allowing the participants to integrate EM tools and readouts into the workflow of their own cell biological research projects. The practical course focuses on teaching the theoretical background and the latest practical developments in the field. They include (i) state of the art fixation including cryo-methods, (ii) correlative light and electron microscopy, (iii) molecular mapping (immuno-EM), iv) three-dimensional EM imaging using tomography and serial imaging, and (v) advanced quantitative image analysis (stereology, nanomorphomics). A further “unique selling point” is the training we provide in project/experimental design, often adapted to each of the students projects.
Collectively our instructors are experienced in a wide spectrum of scientific projects and systems and during the pratical course they use student project case studies to illustrate solutions to a range of biological questions; demonstrating how to integrate EM into systematic workflows, how to select from the variety of accessible techniques and how to extract and interpret data from their samples. Importantly, the participants leave as emergent experts and benefit from continued access to our network of specialists, who provide efficient mentoring, access to high-end techniques helping to open up career opportunities.
Modern EM allows structure-function analysis by combining multidisciplinary approaches with physiological, genetic, biochemical data. Current advances in EM are wide ranging and focus on improving resolution, efficient 3D imaging, molecular mapping, correlative imaging, and quantitation. Together they combine to make this approach amongst the most popular in biology.
A key challenge is therefore to acquire competence in a wide range of techniques, and then to learn how to integrate these effectively with other approaches in cell biology. The future lies not in a single EM method but in selecting and implementing appropriate combinations of cutting edge EM.
The course has been organized almost yearly with great success. Its strong reputation can be explained by the fact that both total beginners and more experienced students are offered the opportunity to learn advanced EM techniques.
A retrospective analysis has revealed a key role for our EM course in the career progression of former participants who are now high profile group leaders who have also used EM methods learnt during the course. We believe that it is crucial for the scientific community to train new generations of electron microscopists that can integrate modern EM approaches effectively in molecular cell biology.
Bordeaux Segalen University