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New High Tech Microscope Coming To Indiana

Image under a microscope

The microscope will be housed on Purdue’s campus in the CryoEM facility at the Wayne T. and Mary T. Hockmeyer Hall of Structural Biology. (WTIU/WFIU News)

Six Indiana organizations have pitched in to buy a new high-tech microscope. The nearly $9 million machine is a cryo-electron microscope that allows scientists to examine molecules at the atomic level.

Purdue University Professor of Biological Sciences Richard Kuhn says a sample is taken and immersed in liquid nitrogen. 

"It really kind of captures the native state of the sample. In this case we might be doing a virus or we might be doing a protein," says Kuhn. 

This creates 3D data that provides a look inside cells to see how they work or interact with drugs. 

The new microscope will be the second installed at Purdue. The current one allowed the university to successfully map the Zika virus. 

Kuhn says the new microscope will improve research accessibility. 

"All of these institutions essentially can just walk in the door and do first-rate structure right off the bat because there is the expertise, the infrastructure here at Purdue to do that," says Kuhn. 

Kuhn says the tool could help attract students, faculty and scientists to Indiana. 

The groups collaborating to acquire the microscope include Purdue, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University, the University of Illinois, Eli Lilly and the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute.

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