Imperial College London

Dr Richard J. Gill

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 2215r.gill Website




N2.13MunroSilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Gill, RJ and Smith, DB and Raine, NE and Bernhardt, G and Abel, RL and Sykes, D and Ahmed, F and Pedroso, I},
doi = {10.1038/srep21768},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
title = {Exploring miniature insect brains using micro-CT scanning techniques},
url = {},
volume = {6},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The capacity to explore soft tissue structures in detail is important in understandinganimal physiology and how this determines features such as movement, behaviour and the impactof trauma on regular function. Here we use advances in micro-computed tomography (micro-CT)technology to explore the brain of an important insect pollinator and model organism, thebumblebee (Bombus terrestris). Here we present a method for accurate imaging and exploration 2of insect brains that keeps brain tissue free from trauma and in its natural stereo-geometry, andshowcase our 3D reconstructions and analyses of 19 individual brains at high resolution.Development of this protocol allows relatively rapid and cost effective brain reconstructions,making it an accessible methodology to the wider scientific community. The protocol describes thenecessary steps for sample preparation, tissue staining, micro-CT scanning and 3D reconstruction,followed by a method for image analysis using the freeware SPIERS. These image analysis methodsdescribe how to virtually extract key composite structures from the insect brain, and wedemonstrate the application and precision of this method by calculating structural volumes andinvestigating the allometric relationships between bumblebee brain structures.
AU - Gill,RJ
AU - Smith,DB
AU - Raine,NE
AU - Bernhardt,G
AU - Abel,RL
AU - Sykes,D
AU - Ahmed,F
AU - Pedroso,I
DO - 10.1038/srep21768
PY - 2016///
SN - 2045-2322
TI - Exploring miniature insect brains using micro-CT scanning techniques
T2 - Scientific Reports
UR -
UR -
VL - 6
ER -