Molecules and cells aren't the only things being enlarged at the School of Medicine's Microscope Facility; so is the facility itself.
In response to the growing need for new instrumentation and services, the 10-year-old Microscope Facility is in the process of a reorganization that will involve the renovation of 2,000 square feet of contiguous space in the Physiology Building of the Basic Sciences Complex. Completion is expected in February.
This reorganization, approved and backed by the Basic Science directors and the School of Medicine administration, is intended to serve investigators throughout the School of Medicine and other divisions of the university.
The renovation work will include the installation of new equipment such as special field-emission-scanning and cryo-electron microscopes, instruments that can show the topographical relief of microscopic surfaces and allow researchers to view the shapes of protein molecules. Also housed in the facility will be high-performance digital CCD imaging and image processing equipment, for fluorescence and DIC microscopy, and time-lapse video recording instruments.
The new facility will have a staff of four, who are experts in the field of light and electron microscopy. It is hoped that the extra staff and instruments will eliminate waiting lists for the use of equipment, according to Doug Murphy, the new director of the Microscope Facility.
"In addition to the new technology, increasing the staff will allow us to educate more people and provide a better service to researchers," said Murphy, a professor of cell biology and anatomy, who now oversees the facility with one assistant. "We can sit down and show them the operation of all the microscopes and, when applicable, the use of the software."
New services to be provided in the coming year are courses on practical light microscopy, electronic imaging and electron microscopy. Workshops on new technologies and methods will be offered throughout the year, as well as special conferences on microscopy and imaging.
"We want more investigators to know about us and to use this facility. We encourage all researchers to stop by," Murphy said.
In total, the facility will house five electron microscopes, two confocal microscopes and three light microscopes.
Fees will be charged for use of the equipment; instruction, consultation and trial experiments are free.
While the renovation work is being completed, the existing Microscope Facility, located in a nearby space, is currently available for research use.
For more information contact Doug Murphy at 410-955-4536 or Michael Delannoy at 410-955-1365.