Telescience recognized for facilitating biomedical research on a global network

December 09, 2003

The United States has not placed a high voltage electron microscope in service for biomedical research since the 1970s, yet access to these microscopes is vital for the study of disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease as well as mental retardation. To offset this obstacle, and improve speed and accessibility to microscopic data, the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR), in collaboration with the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), developed Telescience (, a process that provides, through one Web interface, a suite of tools for end-to-end electron tomography including remote microscopy, bioinformatics, distributed computing, and collaborative visualization. Telescience allows researchers to access rare, high energy electron microscopes.

Recently, a team of Telescience researchers competed in the annual Bandwidth Challenge at Supercomputing 2003, a showcase contest designed to highlight emerging applications that use significant bandwidth. The team was recognized with the "Best Application" award for their advanced, real-world use of computer networks and infrastructure to facilitate international biomedical research.

The team, representing NCMIR, NPACI, the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN), OptIPuter, and Pacific Rim Applications and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA) programs, assembled a view into their production cyberinfrastructure that showcased an international consortium of users and a globally-distributed pool of integrated, heterogeneous resources. They demonstrated specific elements of the overall Telescience infrastructure, including the ability to query distributed, federated databases, and transparently initiate secure data transfers over native IPv6 networks using Grid middleware such as IPv6 enabled GridFTP. The ability to remotely control and acquire data from remote instruments was also featured.

In a real-world example of this multidisciplinary approach, collaborators in Sweden, Argentina, San Diego, and the Supercomputing conference floor were able to interactively control high performance instruments in Osaka, Japan and San Diego. For each control scenario, digital video over IPv6 functioned as an interactive mechanism for improved multi-scale specimen navigation and feedback. For remote control of the world's largest electron microscope in Osaka, Japan, the team demonstrated the use of high definition television (HDTV) over IPv6, featuring a state-of-the-art HDTV encoding/decoding system developed by KDDI R&D Labs in Japan, that utilizes the JPEG2000 compression standard.

Through the Telescience Portal, Dr. Héctor Coirini and his group from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, collaborated with researchers in Stockholm, Sweden to control the Intermediate Voltage Electron Microscope (IVEM 4000) in San Diego. According to Dr. Coirini, "Telescience is providing Web-based access to specialized instruments that are not otherwise available to the Argentinean research community. This demonstrates a practical system for biologists that illustrates how networking can be used effectively to enable collaborative research on a global scale."

Also featured were two examples of high resolution visualization applications, running on a 27 million pixel display wall powered by a Rocks cluster ( This component illustrated the use of high bandwidth networking for parallel distributed rendering to enable users to interactively manipulate multi-gigabyte biomedical datasets.

Telescience was the only entry to utilize IPv6 protocols, and showcased a system where the entire international infrastructure was IPv6 compliant. The group successfully transferred more than 1Gbit/second over native IPv6 networks, more than has ever been achieved using IPv6 networks in the history of the Bandwidth Challenge. Participants included the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the Universidad de Buenos Aires, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the Cybermedia Center at Osaka University, the Center for Ultra High Voltage Microscopy in Osaka, Japan, Taiwan's National Center for High-Performance Computing (NCHC), Japan, and KDDI R&D Labs, Japan.

According to Dr. Mark Ellisman, director of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, "Telescience allows international biomedical research through multiple scales and modalities. We are pleased that the Telescience team was able to demonstrate and continue to drive the evolution of the United State's IPv6 infrastructure."

Telescience has created a paradigm shift in the way microscopy is performed. Scientists who once had to travel to gather data are now able to access to a growing number of tools over the Internet to help in the study of schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Telescience is creating a vision of biological research in which global collaborations can effectively improve the evolution of health care.
Image available of beautiful brain slice image spanning triple monitors.

University of California - San Diego

Related Microscopy Articles from Brightsurf:

Ultracompact metalens microscopy breaks FOV constraints
As reported in Advanced Photonics, their metalens-integrated imaging device (MIID) exhibits an ultracompact architecture with a working imaging distance in the hundreds of micrometers.

Attosecond boost for electron microscopy
A team of physicists from the University of Konstanz and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Germany have achieved attosecond time resolution in a transmission electron microscope by combining it with a continuous-wave laser -- new insights into light-matter interactions.

Microscopy beyond the resolution limit
The Polish-Israeli team from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw and the Weizmann Institute of Science has made another significant achievement in fluorescent microscopy.

Quantum light squeezes the noise out of microscopy signals
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory used quantum optics to advance state-of-the-art microscopy and illuminate a path to detecting material properties with greater sensitivity than is possible with traditional tools.

Limitations of super-resolution microscopy overcome
The smallest cell structures can now be imaged even better: The combination of two microscopy methods makes fluorescence imaging with molecular resolution possible for the first time.

High-end microscopy refined
New details are known about an important cell structure: For the first time, two Würzburg research groups have been able to map the synaptonemal complex three-dimensionally with a resolution of 20 to 30 nanometres.

Developing new techniques to improve atomic force microscopy
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new method to improve the noise associated with nanoscale chemical imaging using atomic force microscopy.

New discovery advances optical microscopy
New Illinois ECE research is advancing the field of optical microscopy, giving the field a critical new tool to solve challenging problems across many fields of science and engineering including semiconductor wafer inspection, nanoparticle sensing, material characterization, biosensing, virus counting, and microfluidic monitoring.

New microscopy method provides unprecedented look at amyloid protein structure
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are often accompanied by amyloid proteins in the brain that have become clumped or misfolded.

Novel 3D imaging technology makes fluorescence microscopy more efficient
A research team led by Dr Kevin Tsia from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), developed a new optical imaging technology -- Coded Light-sheet Array Microscopy (CLAM) -- which can perform 3D imaging at high speed, and is power efficient and gentle to preserve the living specimens during scanning at a level that is not achieved by existing technologies.

Read More: Microscopy News and Microscopy Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to