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Harvard University and Carl Zeiss Sign Licensing Agreement


Label-free contrasting technique for laser microscopy opens up new possibilities in biomedical research

Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) and Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of Carl Zeiss AG, have signed a licensing agreement permitting Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH to use the CARS (Coherent anti-Stokes Raman-Scattering) microscopy technology developed at Harvard. The technology shall be used in the confocal and multiphoton microscopes from Carl Zeiss.

CARS makes it possible for the first time to image biochemically important molecules in living cells and organisms without the need to label them with a dye. The contrast is produced by intrinsic vibrations of molecules in the examined specimen. Therefore, the sometimes complex fluorescence labeling procedure can be avoided. Furthermore, it is possible to prevent the behavior of the examined molecules from being influenced by a label. Therefore, CARS microscopy permits measurements in cases where there is particularly high sensitivity to labeling with marker molecules. The CARS technique complements and supplements fluorescence microscopy by contributing to a more in-depth understanding of biological and biochemical processes.

The technology developed in the lab of Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, not only enables label-free imaging, but also the visualization of molecular labels that barely affect the properties of the marked biomolecules. Possible applications include pharmacokinetic examinations on the transport of active ingredients in biological tissues.

“This technology has far-reaching implications for helping advance important biomedical research,” stated Isaac T. Kohlberg, Chief Technology Development Officer at Harvard University.
“Our agreement with Carl Zeiss MicroImaging is aligned with our strategy to partner with the best and most expert companies who, like us, are dedicated to excellence and quality.”

Dr. Ulrich Simon, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH, stated: “Carl Zeiss thoroughly screens for all technologies that promise to put its customers’ research into a leading position. Professor Xie and his group at Harvard University have pioneered CARS microscopy in a very impressive way. Licensing this technology will allow us to add another highly efficient research tool to our advanced microscopy portfolio.”

With CARS microscopy, biomedical research has another innovative contrasting technique that will add a new dimension to laser scanning microscopy. Combined with fluorescence imaging of biological and technical specimens, the technique will contribute to a more in-depth understanding of biological and biochemical processes. However, the CARS technology can also be used beyond cell biology, e.g. for the development and testing of new active ingredients in the pharmaceutical industry, or for medical diagnostics.


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