The Little Eye Blog

A Point of View on Microscopy Research, the History of the Microscope and a hint of Interdisciplinary Academia

My aim with this blog is to share with others some of my interests, mainly in microscopy and bioimaging. You can expect to see a few different styles of posts as detailed in  Welcome to The Little Eye.

Why “The Little Eye”?

I’ve taken the name The Little Eye from Galileo Galilei who coined his early compound microscopes: “Occhiolino”, Italian for “little eye”. The term “microscope” was coined by Giovanni Faber, a contempory of Galileo, and comes from the Greek words for “small” and “to look at”, intended to be analogous to “telescope” (see Welcome to The Little Eye).

(Part 2 of 2)

It’s now been two weeks since I attended the Royal Society’s Research Culture - Changing Expectations meeting and it’s amazing how many topics from the meetings have come up organically in conversations with other academics, particularly early career researchers. I’ve already written about a few of these in my earlier post and in this post I’ll summarise some key topics from the second day. As mentioned in my last post this and my last post are a brief summary of just some of the ideas and messages that particularly spoke to me.

(Part 1 of 2)

Earlier this week (29-30th October 2018) I attended a meeting at the Royal Society (London) with an aim of considering the UK scientific research culture - identifying challenges, highlighting best practice and considering what the future UK research culture can and should be. This meeting is a culmination of a two year programme of events and consultations (see here).

The meeting was full of inspiring speakers and great ideas and this and my next post are a really very brief summary of just some of the ideas and messages that particularly spoke to me. I have referenced speakers throughout but some of these points may be my own interpretation and opinion.

2018 has been a busy year so far (and I expect it will stay that way) but I’ve finally made time to write another blog post (and also to move my blog into my personal website). Given that so far this year I’ve spoken about my current research - imaging the beating zebrafish heart - to audiences of academics, the public & students I thought it was about time to do a blog post summarising said research. Hopefully this short post will provide you with an idea of what we’re trying to achieve, why and how we’re going about it (although I’ve kept off too much detail for now).

Recently, I was explaining my research to another academic from a different field. I was describing how, when imaging living animals under the microscope, we strive to keep laser power levels to the minimum needed. The question I got in return was: “Is that for the animal’s sake or for the imaging?”. And of course the answer is both - in general, I find that good science and better microscopy align very well with performing more humane animal research.

This article is about how researchers are working to improve animal research by minimising numbers used, sharing animals and data and refining experimental procedures.  This is not an article on whether or not animal experimentation should or should not be done; that is a matter of personal ethics. However, should you be interested in the rules and regulations surrounding animal research in the UK, I would suggest you start with Understanding Animal Research [1] and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (the NC3RS) [2].

Today I attended the Sense about Science [1] media workshop: Standing up for Science [2]. The day is run as part of their Voice of Young Science network [3] and aims to help early career scientists launch themselves into the rather intimidating field of media engagement.

The workshop itself was a really interesting day so thanks to Chris Peters and Ana Skamarauskas for organising and chairing through the day. It was primarily composed of three very interactive panels: scientists who have communicated with the media, journalists who work in STEM-related media, and the ‘nuts and bolts’ panel.