Adam Vogrin
Technical Officer RMIT University, Melbourne

Tel: +61 3 9925 9070

The Man Behind the Mask

We recently spoke with Adam – the winner of our ‘Image in an Image’ competition 2023.
In our latest interview, discover how he’s getting on with using one of our industry-leading light sources and the valuable work both he and his facility perform.

Tell me about your role

I am a Technical Officer at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Here I manage and maintain several pieces of research equipment, including multiphoton, confocal and widefield fluorescence microscopes. In addition to maintaining research equipment and laboratory spaces, I am responsible for training new users and provide advice on experimental procedures and troubleshooting.

Prior to this role, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where I studied tumour angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis at the molecular level. My microscopy journey began during my PhD at Melbourne University where I looked at host-pathogen interactions in Legionnaires’ disease.

What do you most enjoy about your role managing the microscope equipment and supporting lab users?

The best part of my job is being able to teach and advise staff and students who bring me such a wide variety of samples, making every day different. Training people using the same test slides get quite old after a few years! So, I like to grab a flower or seed from outside and use that as a specimen when I train people instead. Plants tend to autofluoresce quite strongly, so they are perfect. My winning image of a flower bud is an example of this.

Image in an Image Competition 2023

How did you choose your entry? Did you see the Venetian Mask right away?

When I saw the theme of the competition ‘Image in an Image’ I immediately thought of this image, I always thought it looked like a mask. It’s one of those pictures where the more you look at it, the more it seems to look right back at you, making it quite memorable.

Do you have any advice/tips for someone entering the competition to help them create a winning image?

For an image competition primarily concerned with aesthetics, don’t be afraid to get creative. As a scientist you will probably be used to leaving your raw images largely untouched to preserve scientific integrity, but that doesn’t apply for most imaging competitions. Cropping out oversaturated/out of focus sections, adjusting image composition (the ‘rule of thirds’ and other photography tips can be really helpful here) and brightness/contrast settings can really transform your image. Swapping out the standard red, green and blue colours in a fluorescence image can also help to make your image stand out.

Adam Vogrin Venetian mask
CoolLED pE-300white

About your use of the pE-300white and setup

Which microscope do you have the CoolLED Illumination System on?

Zeiss Axioplan fluorescence microscope

What kind of research/application is the setup being used for?

A wide variety of researchers in the building use our shared microscopes. Usual samples are stained cells/tissue from research groups of various life science fields such as chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases, neurological development and disease, Metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, food science and materials science.

Which features of the CoolLED do you find most useful?

The intensity of illumination is great, and I like that it is highly adjustable.

About switching from mercury to LEDs

Can you elaborate a little more on the benefits of LEDs you found compared to mercury?

Mostly the ease of use- no worrying about warm up/cool down times and bulb adjustments. They will last a very long time before needing to be changed, unlike the regular changing required with mercury lamps.

Have you previously considered changing away from lamps to LEDs, and if so what were the barriers here?

We haven’t seriously considered changing older mercury lamp systems, primarily due to the cost. But for any new systems, I would now advocate for LEDs.


A huge thank you to Adam for taking the time to answer our questions, and we’re so pleased that he’s found our pE-300white such a versatile, easy-to-use light source.
With his excellent tips for taking a fantastic fluorescence image, make sure you look out for next year’s Image in an Image competition. 

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