Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Core


Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Core - People

Facility Staff

Uri Manor

Biophotonics Core Director

As Director of the Advanced Biophotonics Core Facility at the Salk Institute, Uri Manor’s primary focus is the integration and application of optical and charged particle detection technologies to study problems of critical biological significance. Manor’s current research focuses on developing novel artificial intelligence approaches to increase the resolution, sensitivity and speed of the next generation of microscopes, as well as designing nanoprobes for high spatiotemporal resolution imaging of subcellular dynamics. His main biological interests are mitochondria, hearing loss, neurodegeneration and synaptic plasticity.

Prior to joining Salk, Manor did his PhD thesis research work with Bechara Kachar (NIH), and his postdoctoral training with Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz (NIH and Janelia Farms) using advanced quantitative imaging approaches, such as superresolution and live cell imaging, automated analysis and segmentation of microscopy data, and computational modeling of biophysical and biochemical dynamics in the cell. By the time Manor completed his postdoctoral training, he had published 17 peer-reviewed publications, all of which relied on his imaging or image analysis skills.

Leonardo Andrade, PhD

Lead Electron Microscopy Scientist

Leonardo Andrade received his PhD in Morphological Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in the lab of Drs. Marcos Farina and Gilberto Amado-Filho. While a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Leo took a 4-year sabbatical as a visiting professor in the Kachar Lab at the NIH, learning cutting edge electron microscopy from one of the leaders in the field. Leo has extended experience with multiple advanced electron microscope techniques including cryofixation (slam freezing, plunge freezing, high pressure freezing), freeze substitution, cryo-ultramicrotomy, freeze-fracture, deep-etching, immunoTEM, immunoSEM, EM-tomography, EDS, EELS, and ESI. His main biological interests are age-related hearing loss, biomineralization, magnetoreception, and the actin cytoskeleton.

Sammy Weiser Novak, MS

Electron Microscopy Specialist

After completing his B.S. in Biomedical Toxicology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, Sammy Weiser Novak moved to the University of Victoria to perform his M.S. in the laboratory of Dr. Patrick Nahirney, the author of Netter’s Histology. There Sammy used electron microscopy and computational image analysis to study the ultrastructure and morphology of hippocampal synapses in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome. Afterwards, Sammy worked in Dr. Joel Kubby’s lab at UC-Santa Cruz developing a 2-photon microscope with adaptive optics, gaining valuable hands-on experience with custom hardware and advanced light microscope systems. He then joined the laboratory of Dr. Marie-Eve Trembley to establish 3D electron microscopy using a new FIB-SEM system recently acquired for her lab. Sammy’s current research interests include synapse structure and function, 3D electron microscopy techniques including correlative and cryo-electron microscopy, and machine-learning assisted image processing, analysis, and segmentation.

Rebecca Gilson

Light Microscopy Specialist

Rebecca is the Light Microscopy Specialist in the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Core at the Salk Institute. Rebecca received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in Saint Louis where she designed and tested new fluorescence probes and photosensitizers used in the treatment of cancer via Photodynamic Therapy. After graduating, Rebecca moved to Sydney where she completed her Postdoctoral training with Katharina Gaus in the Single Molecule Sciences consortium within UNSW. There Rebecca studied the clustering of transmembrane proteins using single molecule tools such as: TIRF, dSTORM, and FCS. After moving to San Diego, Rebecca worked as a Field Application Scientist for ONi, a microscope company that develops and builds bench-top single-molecule microscopes. Now, at Salk, Rebecca, trains of new users in cutting-edge microscopy techniques and aids with research design, execution, and analysis.

Linjing Fang, M.S.E.

Image Analysis Specialist

Linjing is the Image Analysis Specialist in the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Core at the Salk Institute. During her masters at Cornell University, Linjing was interested in understanding why brain blood flow is decreased in Alzheimer’s patients by analyzing deep brain capillaries imaged via 3D multi-photon microscopy. To speed up the pipeline for better interpretation of the vascular topology, she systematically tested several state-of-the-art algorithms for vessel segmentation, and determined that machine-learning based methods were superior to all other automated methods, greatly increasing the efficiency of the otherwise laborious task of manually segmenting images. In her current role as Image Analysis Specialist, Linjing works closely with researchers to help with quantitative image analysis, covering a wide variety of biological samples and image types including fluorescence widefield, Airyscan, confocal, STORM/PALM, 2-photon, transmission, scanning, and serial blockface scanning electron microscope images. She also develops custom algorithms for collaborators, and provides training to all users on image analysis software such as Imaris, Fiji, Arivis, and Aivia. For her independent project, she is developing 3D GPU-based high-resolution image restoration software that employs cutting-edge denoising and deconvolution algorithms for fluorescence and electron microscope images with extremely low signal-to-noise ratios. She is also working on developing a standardized deep-learning based image segmentation pipeline that can be applied to a large variety of datasets.