A Multi-Camera High Throughput Worm Assay

72 megapixels, 2.2 GB/s of video, handled by Motif

We were approached by Andre Brown to create a custom imaging setup for high-throughput worm screening. Dr. Brown and his team are searching for novel neuroactive compounds using the nematode C. elegans. He explained:

To screen a large number of drugs, it helps to image many worms in multiwell plates. Normal plate scanning microscopes don't help because we want to see behaviour changes that require looking at each worm for minutes so we have to image the worms in parallel. At the same time, we need enough resolution to extract a detailed behavioural fingerprint using Tierpsy Tracker. A six-camera array provides the pixel density and frame rate we need and opens the door to phenotypic screens for complex behaviours at an unprecedented scale.

The Solution

To meet the requirements we designed a solution using 6x 12 Megapixel cameras at 25 frames per second. To save on storage space, all video is compressed in real-time, at exceptional quality, before being saved to disk. The flexibility of Motif allows synchronized recording from all cameras, controlled from a single web-based user interface.

For an impression of the images possible with such a system, check out the interactive (mouse over / touch for zoom controls) viewer below.