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EMBO Practical Course

Electron Microscopy and Stereology in Cell Biology

EMBL Heidelberg, Germany Sunday 16 June - Wednesday 26 June 2013 Application closed
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  • Final Programme can be downloaded here.

Why apply

  • Summary
    The aim of this course is to teach cutting-edge EM techniques for Cell Biologists on a high theoretical and practical level. EM is technically one of the most demanding set of approaches to learn; many aspects can only reasonably be understood by watching a specialist. Despite the vast number of technical books available, there is clearly no substitute for hands-on training. Therefore the main emphasis in this course is put on the practical training.

    In order to gain a deeper understanding of structure-function relationships in the cell, it is necessary to implement affinity cytochemistry at the EM level. Ultrastructural immunocytochemistry represents the most definite technique to identify specific cell structures in situ with sufficient spatial resolution. Recently, the use of these EM approaches has become less prominent. Likely reasons for this phenomenon are the increasing power of confocal and video light microscopy on the one hand, on the other hand the expense and working difficulties of EM techniques have effect also on this downtrend. However, only EM techniques can bring the information about antigen localization at the ultrastructural level, when is necessary to distinguish between the many interesting organelles whose functions are coupled (e.g. Golgi, ER).

    EM approaches complement light microscopy by providing data unavailable through other methods. The course has a long tradition because it has been organized annually for about 30 years. During this period a stable teaching team has been formed who have great experience with teaching these techniques. It is composed of the world’s best specialists in processing of cells and tissues for EM in combination with immunogold labelling and quantitation via stereology. The teachers are able to teach someone with no previous experience in EM to a level where the students can not only establish the techniques in their home labs but also teach others.

    In the course the students learn the best methods for preserving, visualizing, and quantifying antigens on cellular structures. They are encouraged to bring their own specimens and antibodies to the course.