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Karl Bellve is a cross-discipline scientist covering the fields of Biology, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering. He obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology (1996, U.MD) and joined the Biomedical Imaging Group in 1997. More information about the Biomedical Imaging Group can be found from http://big.umassmed.edu.
High-Speed 3D Epi/TIRF/Structured Light Microscopy
His focus is on the design and implementation of computer systems and software to control various electronics, including high-speed CCD cameras, and coordinate the high-speed electro-optical/mechanical systems, and to develop the software for specific imaging protocols necessary to gather imaging data, as well as necessary image computation and display tasks required on the control computer, and the User Interface Software that makes the system accessible. He is extremely well qualified for this role, as he designed, built and programmed the entire computer and control system for the fast TIRF/GFPM microscope system. His work has resulted in the creation of a novel high-speed fluorescence microscope system that can rapidly produce high-resolution, 3-dimensional images of fluorescence inside single cells, as well as corresponding images of near plasma membrane events at speeds of 90 images per second, using a specialized technique called Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) imaging, developed and implemented in collaboration with the Optical Physicists of the Biomedical Imaging Group.
Additionally he has created the ability to rapidly produce 3-dimensional reconstructions of cells from 3-D images (using a process known as "deconvolution microscopy") by having developed and programmed a high-speed cluster of inexpensive computers (sometimes known as a Beowulf cluster) for this purpose.
GPU Programming (CUDA)
He was the first on campus to take advantage of using GPUs to exponentially speed up processing-intensive applications like 3D Deconvolution.
Open Source Software
A key feature of his efforts has been to contribute his software back to the scientific community. As an example, he is a significant contributor to uManager
, an open source microscope acquisition package. He has contributed multiple device adapters, java classes, and bean shell scripts to the uManager code base, as well as solved difficult programming problems for the uManager community.
Unlike Open Source Software, Open Hardware is fairly new and the basic tenets are as follows:
"Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design."
With that in mind, he recently developed an Open Hardware Focus Stabilization project called pgFocus. pg is short for "pretty good", and is meant to poke fun at other names like Perfect Focus, Definite Focus, and Ultimate Focus.
pgFocus monitors focal changes through the positional changes of a reflected laser beam.
pgFocus Basic Implementation
A significant feature of pgFocus is it acts as a "man-in-the-middle." It is designed to pass through faster high fidelity signals meant for a piezo Z controller while adding a slower focus control signal. This happens in the analog realm, which avoids sampling artifacts introduced by digitizing the original signal. This design also reduces the cost of pgFocus.
pgFocus Optical Layout
More information about pgFocus can be found here:
1990, B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1996, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Maryland