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In July 2013 we brought the OpenSPIM to a EMBO course on Marine animal models in evolution & development at Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences in Kristineberg in Sweden. The course is an annual event organized primarily by Detlev Arendt, this year together with Andreas Hejnoj and Grahame Budd. The course features a vast array of amazing speakers focusing on development of marine model organisms such as Platynereis, sea urchin, parhyale, flatworms, ciona and many other species representing different animal phyla many of which you have never heard about before. There are really interesting talks introducing the different animal models and the cutting edge science done with them. There are a lot of discussions about evolution of animal diversity driven by the leaders of the field. Since this is a practical course the emphasis is on doing experiments which involves collecting the animals on rather adventurous boat trips around the fjord which apparently features representatives of most phyla. The collected samples are sifted through to find interesting specimen, typically identified by Claus Nielsen who knows simply everything about them. They are then fixed, stained by RNA in situ or antibody staining or microinjected for live imaging.

Which is why we were there. The course this year focussed on light sheet microscopy and next to OpenSPIM there was also Lightsheet Z.1 from Carl Zeiss Microimaging