The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI) has been named as Canada’s first Nikon Center of Excellence in a partnership to provide Sinai Health’s researchers access to the latest imaging technologies essential to fueling scientific discovery.

Nikon Instruments Inc. is an innovator of advanced microscope systems. The Nikon Center of Excellence will provide access to the latest in imaging technologies via the LTRI to its trainees, visiting scholars and collaborators at the University of Toronto and around the world.

Laurence Pelletier, senior investigator at the LTRI and director of the Nikon Center of Excellence, said the partnership will allow his team to push the boundaries of cellular imaging and move human tissue biology into the high-resolution realm.

“I am delighted that the LTRI was chosen as the inaugural Nikon Centre of Excellence in Canada,” said Pelletier. “This important partnership will allow our trainees and collaborators to transform their understanding of biological systems across scales, from single-cells to human tissues at the highest possible spatiotemporal resolution. I look forward to working with our colleagues at Nikon in the further development and deployment of next generation imaging systems for years to come.”

The LTRI’s Nikon Center of Excellence already houses a number of advanced microscopes, including a $2 million two-photon multi-modal imaging system specifically tailored to image thick human tissues and organoids.

The Pelletier lab looks at how cellular machines are built and function to regulate cell function using cutting-edge quantitative imaging approaches and high-content screening. Recently, his team, along with collaborators Liliana Attisano and Jeff Wrana, have been studying larger structures, such as organoids, to model human physiology before going to clinical trials.

“Integrating the Nikon Center of Excellence with both the Applied Organoid Core at the Donnelly Centre and the robotic and proteomic facilities at the Network Biology Collaborative Centre at the LTRI is part of the longer term strategy to effectively merge these different technologies and allow our researchers to tackle human disease,” said Dr. Stephen Lye, interim Koffler Director of Research at LTRI.

The Center will draw upon its resources, technical expertise, and experienced staff in advanced imaging to address the most salient questions and challenges in cell biology. The Center of Excellence is also well positioned to foster meaningful relationships between LTRI’s researchers and Nikon’s hardware and software development teams.

“We are thrilled to partner with Dr. Pelletier and the LTRI in bringing state-of-the-art microscopy systems to the greater scientific community in Toronto,” said Andy Davis, General Manager, Sales, Nikon Instruments. “It is these types of partnerships between academia and industry that form the basis for advancing research, developing new technologies, and accelerating health care and commercial applications. We look forward to supporting the LTRI and the surrounding communities as they embark on cutting-edge research efforts.”

The Nikon Center of Excellence is funded in part by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Krembil Foundation and Brain Canada.