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Developing an Advanced Bioimaging Core in Latin America

Award Imaging Scientist

Funding Cycle Cycle 2


Leonel Malacrida, PhD

Institut Pasteur de Montevideo-Universidad de la República del Uruguay (Advanced Bioimaging Unit)


Leonel Malacrida’s journey to advanced bioimaging started during his PhD research in biophysics in Uruguay when he first studied lung surfactant—a biofilm coating the lung interior that enables us to breathe—and wanted to understand this biological material at the molecular level. During his postdoc at the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics at the University of California, Irvine, he delved into opportunities using advanced microscopy to quantitatively evaluate biology. Leonel is particularly interested in developing methods to image cells hidden in deep layers of tissues not accessible to normal microscopes. As an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the Universidad de la República of Uruguay, he recently established the Advanced Bioimaging Unit, a world-class facility for the development of novel instrumentation and for providing services and training to researchers throughout Uruguay. He is deeply committed to training the next generation of young researchers in modern advanced microscopy.

Project Description

The Advanced Bioimaging Unit (UBA) is a shared effort between the Institut Pasteur of Montevideo and the Universidad de la República at Uruguay, with the goal of developing a national imaging facility that provides access to state-of-the-art instrumentation for all researchers in Uruguay. The UBA will use powerful imaging methods, including adaptive optics approaches and advanced multiphoton laser sources, to study cells deep inside biological tissues. In addition to providing images with high space and time resolution, the UBA’s instrumentation will provide spectroscopic information on different environments inside specific regions of cells. A combination of cutting-edge technology and novel artificial intelligence approaches for analysis and interpretation will provide solutions for handling increasingly complex data. The UBA will also train the next generation of young scientists in Uruguay in these modern imaging and analysis methods.