Embryonic and fetal specimen
The 3D Embryo Atlas is based on the renowned Carnegie collection, currently housed in the National Museum of Health and Medicine. This collection consists of thousands of human embryos up until eight weeks of development (Carnegie stage 23). Because a proper collection of healthy and complete fetal specimen above eight weeks of development did not exist, the Dutch Fetal Biobank was founded in Amsterdam UMC in 2017.
”It's fair to say that we currently know more about the Moon than about our own embryonic development.Bernadette de Bakker, MD PhDInternational Business Times, 24-11-2016
3D imaging techniques
All 15 000 histological sections of two series of human embryos from the Carnegie collection have been captured using a digital microscope and the software package Amira to create the 3D Embryo Atlas.
In collaboration with Imperial College London and Samsung we use our 3D reconstructions and Micro-CT scans of human embryos and fetuses to clinically validate the CrystalVueTM and RealisticVueTM 3D rendering software in the creation of a 3D Ultrasound Atlas.
Ultra-high field MRI (UHF-MRI)
This technique enables imaging soft tissues of human embryonic and small fetal samples without adding contrast agents. Limitations are, however, that long scanning times (>15h) are needed to acquire high resolution scans of small samples and samples >10-20 cm do not fit in the machine.
Micro-CT/diceCT – 3D histology
Microfocus computed tomography (micro-CT) enables both scanning of unstained human embryonic, fetal or adult ex vivo samples to capture the developing skeleton, as contrast-enhanced tissues (diceCT: diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced CT) for fabulous soft-tissue scans on a micrometer resolution.
By students for students
As academic teaching and quality research go hand in hand, (bio)medical students have always been involved in our research projects. They often start with an elective course, or a mini thesis, after which they apply for a bachelor or master internship. And even after that, many students voluntarily continue their efforts and become valuable (clinical) collaborators for our team.