New IU Microscope Pushes Boundaries for Science Research

IU staff is putting finishing touches on a new microscope that features break-through technology.

fixed PTK

Photo: Eric Workman and Jim Powers

A fixed PTK (marsupial kidney cell line) cell in mitosis. The condensed chromosomes are stained with Hoechst stain and are shown in blue, while microtubules are labelled with an antibody to tubulin and are shown in red. Imaging was done in the structured illumination mode. More than 2000 images were taken and processed to create this image.

IU staff is putting finishing touches on a new microscope that features break-through technology. The new super resolution microscope is one of only 16 in the world. It allows researchers to examine biological samples with unprecedented detail in 3 dimensions.

Jim Powers is the one responsible for training IU researchers to use the device at the Light Microscopy Imaging Center. “You take a whole bunch of different focal planes to get the whole 3-D image of the cell, it does this in three different orientations,” said Powers.

The $1.2 million microscope is paid for by grants, something the IU Imaging Center director Claire Walczak didn’t think they would get. “I was absolutely shocked, because there were so many applications that they didn’t have enough scientists to review the grants who hadn’t applied for one.”

The technology will allow IU researchers and scientists to become leaders in their field and explore science that doesn’t exist in many other places in the world. “In this era of antibiotic resistance you need new tools, new drugs, this will allow us to see within those tiny little cells where different proteins lie,” said Walczak.

And not only at IU, but scientists around the state. Sid Shaw is an assistant professor of Biology and the technical director of the LMIC. He is working with Powers, among others, to calibrate the device and establish procedures for use. “We’re hoping that the IU community and others within the state, Purdue, IUPUI will have access to a machine like this do their research,” said Shaw.

The staff hopes the instrument will be available to all IU researchers by September.

Joe Hren

Anchor, Indiana Newsdesk - WTIU & WFIU News. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_Hren

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