WG 13 – Phototoxicity

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WG 13 - Objectives

In live fluorescence microscopy, phototoxicity describes the phenomenon by which the light used for fluorescence excitation leads to physiological changes in the observed living sample. Fluorescence imaging itself can change the physiology, and the conclusions drawn from such observations can be erroneous and misleading: Phototoxicity may cause subtle changes within the sample that are not easy to notice visually, and researchers may observe a physiological process for the first time, for which “normal” behaviour is not known. The goal of the phototoxicity working group (WG13) is to raise awareness of phototoxicity in the wider imaging community and share the best ways to assess, minimise and report it. Key aims of WG13 are:

  1. To bring together the international microscopy community to raise awareness about the issue of phototoxicity in live fluorescence microscopy. This includes imaging scientists working in core facilities, researchers and trainees (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows), scientific publishers, manuscript/grant reviewers, and manufacturers of optical instruments and software.
  2. The WG members will generate content and give phototoxicity workshops and short talks at different scientific meetings in their regional area and in their scientific field (e.g. biophysics, neuroscience…). WG13 will also periodically produce educational material (blog articles, videos, reviews) with up-to-date references (peer-reviewed publications, white papers and industry notes) regarding phototoxicity.
  3. To develop and disseminate general recommendations and best practices on how to measure, mitigate and report phototoxicity. For example, how to produce dose–response curves, how to avoid illumination overhead, and what biological readouts to use.
  4. To establish a consensus on phototoxicity-related terminology. For these points, we intend to work with the Microscopy Publication Standards group (WG11).
  5. To work with the Illumination Power group (WG1) to encourage researchers to measure incident light power for all live cell experiments.
  6. To collaborate with industry partners for the promotion of hardware settings and techniques that verifiably enable live imaging with low phototoxicity.
  7. To obtain funding that enables quantitative studies, educational activities and community building centered on phototoxicity.

WG 13 - Co-Chairs

WG 13 - Latest News


Last meeting: 24th April 2024, 4:00 pm

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