With this application we request funds from the ORD Shared Equipment Evaluation Program (ShEEP) to purchase a new super resolution confocal microscope system as a shared resource to be housed in the Neurology Program laboratories on the 6th floor of the San Diego VA Medical Center. Specifically, we seek to obtain a model LSM 880 with Airyscan manufactured by Carl Zeiss USA, Inc. (Thornwood, NY). The rationale for this purchase is threefold. First, Current confocal microscope systems available through the San Diego VAMC Microimaging Core Facility (Zeiss LSM 510) and the Center for Neural Repair (Olympus FV1000) are both over 15 years old, are well over their operational lifetimes and as of September 2016 are obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturers. Going forward, parts and maintenance will no longer be available and these microscopes, which are critical to the research goals of many VA investigators, will become unusable. Second, we are able to take advantage of a time-limited 20% trade-in offer from Zeiss for the purchase of the LSM 880 with Airyscan system. Third, the LSM 880 with Airyscan has many advanced features that place it at the cutting edge of confocal microscopy, including features that are not available from any other manufacturer. Therefore, the acquisition of an LSM 880 with Airyscan confocal microscopy system will dramatically enhance the imaging capabilities available to many VA investigators and support the most demanding research goals. This will certainly stimulate the development of new research projects and new collaborations among investigators at the San Diego VAMC, which has a long-standing record of excellence in research to benefit Veterans health. The research portfolio of the major and minor users for this instrument is very diverse and includes projects studying regenerative approaches to spinal cord injury and neural repair as well as studies investigating the cellular and molecular biology of ageing, gene therapy for Alzheimer's disease as well as for cardiac disease, traumatic brain injury, psychiatry, cardiology, anesthesiology, neurodegeneration, stem cell biology, diabetes and blindness. Access to the most advanced confocal microscopy tools and techniques is critical to all of these studies, as they all involve the collection of large amounts of quantitative image information across a large spatial, temporal and spectral dynamic range from a diverse set of living and fixed biological samples with the highest resolution and speed possible. Specifically, research groups and projects for which the LSM 880 with Airyscan will be critical are: Dr Mark Tuszynski, Dr John Brock, Dr Paul Lu, Dr Brian Head, Dr Robert Rissman, Dr Hemal Patel, Dr Thomas Hnasko, Dr Allen Ryan, Dr Steven Wagner, Dr Dhakshin Ramanathan and Dr Veronica Shubayev, Dr Kirk Hammond and Dr Ephron Rosenszweig. Thus, acquisition of an LSM 880 with Airyscan will not merely maintain confocal microscopy at the San Diego VA Medical Center. Rather, this cutting edge technology will help to ensure that we remain leaders in our respective fields at the forefront of research to improve Veteran's health.
We are requesting a Zeiss LSM 880 with Airyscan multifunctional confocal imaging system to serve as a shared multi-PI device at the San Diego VA Medical Center (VAMC). Carl Zeiss, Inc. has been at the forefront of light and electron microscopy development for over a century, and is well known for their excellence in instrumentation design, reliability and innovation. The LSM 880 with Airyscan system is their latest super-resolution laser scanning confocal system. The Zeiss LSM 880 with Airyscan represents a massive advancement in technology and imaging capabilities. It will allow VA funded investigators to rapidly and quantitatively obtain sub diffraction limited superresolution, multispectral and multidimensional imaging datasets from a range of biological samples. It is also the only commercially available confocal system that can seamlessly integrate light based sample imaging with electron microscopy to perform correlative light and EM microscopy (CLEM). This device will be housed centrally in the San Diego VAMC. Confocal microscopy is a key technique in biomedical research. The LSM 880 with AiryScan will vast improve the ability of researchers to perform detailed and quantitative co-localization studies in complex biological samples, and will generate very high quality imaging datasets for presentation and analysis, advancing a wide range of veteran-centric research at the San Diego VA closer toward the clinic and a direct benefit to veterans' health.