UCD sees world’s first commercial deployment of lab-scale soft X-ray microscope
Posted 25 October, 2023
Dr Dimitri Scholz, Director of Biological Imaging, UCD Conway Institute; Professor Jeremy Simpson, Dean of Science and Principal, UCD College of Science and Dr Kenneth Fahy, Vice-President for Product Management, SiriusXT Credit: Vincent Hoban
The UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research is the world’s first imaging laboratory to have an SXT-100 microscope – the first commercial lab-scale soft X-ray microscope capable of imaging intact biological cells and produce 3D nanometre-resolution images of their internal structures.
Until now soft X-ray microscopy (SXM) has only been available at six worldwide synchrotron facilities, in the UK, Germany, Spain, USA, China and Taiwan, which typically are the size of several football pitches.
The use of SXM is critical in disease and therapeutic research to help scientists to better understand disease causation and transmission mechanisms as well as to validate therapeutic effectiveness in the drug discovery process.
Developed by SiriusXT, a UCD spin-out, the SXT-100 microscope allows for a miniaturised soft x-ray source, thereby enabling the construction of table-top SXM systems which can be deployed in globally in any number of disease and therapeutic research laboratories.
“We are really excited to be the world’s first imaging laboratory to have an SXT-100,” said Dr Dimitri Scholz, Director of Biological Imaging, UCD Conway Institute.
“This will enable researchers in academia and industry to close the resolution gap between light and electron microscopy as well as to run multiple correlative microscopy projects using combinations of light, soft X-ray and electron microscopy.’’
Pictured at the UCD Conway Institute, Professor Jeremy Simpson, Dean of Science and Principal, UCD College of Science and Dr Kenneth Fahy, Vice-President for Product Management, SiriusXT Credit: Vincent Hoban
The deployment of the SXT-100 at the UCD Conway Institute “is an outstanding example” of UCD’s focus on translating research output into innovative products, said Professor Jeremy Simpson, Dean of Science and Principal, UCD College of Science.
“[Alongside] informing novel drug discoveries… the SXT-100 will now complement other cell imaging resources at the UCD Conway Institute and across the UCD College of Science and it will help UCD-based scientists to progress their research as well as to strengthen collaboration with their peers and industry partners, nationally and internationally,” he added.
SiriusXT was co-founded by Tony McEnroe, Dr Fergal O’Reilly, Dr Kenneth Fahy and Dr Paul Sheridan.
“[This] announcement is a major milestone for the company. We are delighted that the UCD Conway Institute is the location of our first commercial deployment, ushering in a new era of soft X-ray microscopy at UCD,” said Dr Kenneth Fahy, co-founder and Vice-President for Product Management, SiriusXT.
“It is especially pleasing since the technology that underpins the compact soft X-ray illumination source was first developed by the company’s co-founders within the spectroscopy group at the UCD School of Physics.”
Over twenty European and US-based organisations are currently evaluating the SXT-100, across a wide range of disease research and drug discovery applications, and first international orders are projected in the coming months.
SiriusXT, a NovaUCD-supported company and an Enterprise Ireland High-Potential Start-Up (HPSU), currently employs a staff of 20 and has to date raised over €13 million in grant and equity funding.
By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Micéal Whelan, UCD Research and Innovation)
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