3D and 4D Imaging of Embryonic Development

In order to get a complete understanding of the mechanisms of development it is necessary to observe the process as it occurs and therefore we are developing and applying tools for the three and four-dimensional analysis of embryonic development. These tools include 3D and 4D confocal microscopy, optical projection tomography, and x-ray tomography.
3D rendering of a zebrafish images using x-ray tomography
3D rendered image of a zebrafish

The Zebrafish Anatomy Portal

In order to provide an anatomical resource for the zebrafish we developed the Zebrafish Anatomy Portal (ZFAP), an online anatomical reference for zebrafish larval development. Using the technique of optical projection tomography we have created three-dimensional models of larval zebrafish from 24 hours to adulthood. Once a 3D model has been created it may be virtually sectioned in any plane or rendered to give a representation of the 3D organization of the sample. This allows a complete series of sections in multiple planes to be created from a single sample. Using this method we have created a database of zebrafish larval development. This database contains over 30,000 images of sections; over 1000 of these being annotated, allowing the user to virtually section the models interactively. In addition to the section images we also have 3D rendered images of the fish that may be manipulated on screen. The database is available from the ZFAP website.

Screenshot of ZFAP database
Screenshot of the ZFAP database