Tools for automating the imaging of zebrafish larvae

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The VAST BioImager system is a set of tools developed for zebrafish researchers who require the collection of images from a large number of 2-7 dpf zebrafish larvae. The VAST BioImager automates larval handling, positioning and orientation tasks. Color images at about 10 μm resolution are collected from the on-board camera of the system. If images of greater resolution and detail are required, this system is mounted on an upright microscope, such as a confocal or fluorescence microscope, to utilize their capabilities. The system loads a larvae, positions it in view of the camera, determines orientation using pattern recognition analysis, and then more precisely positions to user-defined orientation for optimal imaging of any desired tissue or organ system. Multiple images of the same larva can be collected. The specific part of each larva and the desired orientation and position is identified by the researcher and an experiment defining the settings and a series of steps can be saved and repeated for imaging of subsequent larvae. The system captures images, then ejects and loads another larva from either a bulk reservoir, a well of a 96 well plate using the LP Sampler, or individually targeted larvae from a Petri dish or other container using the VAST Pipettor. Alternative manual protocols for handling larvae for image collection are tedious and time consuming. The VAST BioImager automates these steps to allow for greater throughput of assays and screens requiring high-content image collection of zebrafish larvae such as might be used in drug discovery and toxicology studies.




Pulak, R. (2016). Tools for automating the imaging of zebrafish larvae. Methods, 96, 118–126.

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