SICB Annual Meeting 2017
January 4-8, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Workshop: "X-ray Computed Tomography: It’s Not Just For Bone!"

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017, 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Innovative uses of radiopaque chemical contrast agents, which are opaque to X-rays, allow for non-destructive 3D imaging of soft tissue in vertebrate specimens, either in-vivo or ex-vivo. Specifically, micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) allows for unprecedented resolution on the potential order of nanometer scale. This workshop explains micro-CT technology and elaborates on the methodology behind contrast agent usage in recently published literature. It offers information on how to use micro-CT imaging to achieve stunning 3D morphometric data in only a few minutes.

Free software and method notes will be provided on USB flash drives for all attendees.

Topic 1: Fundamentals of X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography

The beginning discussion will help you understand how X-ray micro-CT works, the generation of X-rays, the interaction of X-rays on specimen tissues, tradeoffs in X-ray detectors, and a brief introduction to the general principles of image reconstruction and modeling.

Topic 2: Micro-CT Scan Settings – What They Are and How They Affect Image Quality

The discussion will continue with general micro-CT scan settings, including selecting the appropriate X-ray energy, the use of X-ray filters, understanding tradeoffs between spatial resolution and image contrast, as well as approaches to sample mounting.

Topic 3: Enhanced Contrast Through the Use of Staining Agents
Bone, because of its density, attenuates more X-rays than other tissues and is the most common naturally-occurring high contrast in vertebrates, but other tissues such as fat, bulk muscle, and lung can also be resolved with micro-CT scanning. Organs, differentiated muscle groups, cartilage, and blood vessels require special tissue preparation in order to be resolved. The discussion will include:

  • Iodine Staining: pros and cons as well as some guidelines on specimen size and scan settings
  • Phosphotungstic Acid: protocol and usage
  • Chemical Drying: when it should be used

    Topic 4: Use of Micro-CT in the Field – Presentations and Live Discussion
    This workshop will conclude with presentations of ongoing research and how micro-CT technology is helping to advance the understanding of integrated and comparative biology. Time will be allotted for group discussion.

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