In the News
NCMIR Exhibits Remote Control Microscopy in Europe
Scientists in Belgium operated NCMIR's electron microscope in San Diego via the Internet as part of an international forum to promote global research networking.
At The Global IPv6 Service Launch Event in Brussels, Belgium this January, NCMIR researchers in San Diego invited Belgian scientists to manipulate remotely their high-performance electron microscope to examine a tissue sample from a mouse hippocampus cortex.
From a second application, the Belgian operators monitored the automated acquisition of data from a laser scanning light microscope in San Diego, showing how data from multiple instruments and imaging forms can be used remotely to explore similar tissues across scales.
The presentation highlighted the unique biomedical research benefits of NCMIR's Telescience, the Internet portal through which scientists operated the microscope and monitored data acquisition across continents.
Telescience, developed by NCMIR and the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), integrates internationally distributed computational resources, high-bandwidth networks, databases, and visualization software in a manner that hides its complexity from the user. From within one web portal, many users can take turns manipulating such biomedical instruments as NCMIR's intermediate voltage electron microscope (IVEM), the JEM-4000EX. These users can then access all of the tools and resources needed to perform high-resolution three-dimensional imaging using electron tomography.
Telescience is enabled by IPv6, the newest Internet protocol in 20 years. IPv6 will improve the speed and efficiency of networked communications across the globe by increasing capacity for more Internet addresses, allowing direct access to the Internet from any web-enabled location, and enhancing security through sender authentication and data encryption. This protocol replaces IPv4, which was developed before many current technologies were conceived and the potential for global communications was understood.
“Through project-wide adoption of IPv6, we have been able to extend our system to remotely access key scientific instruments located throughout the globe. Our continued aims are to promote the maturation of IPv6 enabled networking infrastructure in the U.S. for scientific research,” said NCMIR director Mark Ellisman.
Electron tomography, a process that was also showcased during NCMIR's presentation in Belgium, computationally derives 3D information from 2D images acquired while incrementally tilting the sample over a large range. These tomograms allow researchers to resolve and analyze the internal and external structural complexity of biological systems. By performing end-to-end remote imaging experiments from the Telescience system, researchers can test hypotheses on the relationships between biological structure and observed behavior in such disorders as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
The Information Society Directorate General of the European Commission and the European projects 6NET and Euro6IX co-organized The Global IPv6 Service Launch Event to encourage collaboration and innovation among researchers and businesses in different countries by enhancing access to state-of-the-art networking services.
The event, which addressed the transition from regional to global IPv6 networking, focused on achievements in testing and validating the large-scale rollout of IPv6. High-level speakers from the European Commission and the European Parliament also participated.