The Biological Imaging Facility (BIF) provides users with the equipment and technical expertise to conduct a wide array of imaging experiments that span from the ultrastructural level (Electron Microscope (EM)), cellular (Light Microscope (LM)) to tissues and organs in animals (Small Animal Imaging (SAI)). The BIF was created by merging previously separate approved CCSG Facilities for Cell Imaging, Electron Microscope (EM) and Small Animal Imaging services. The merger was based upon the recommendation of the Facility Parent Oversight Committee (FPOC) that was created since the last review to help prioritize shared resources. The FPOC noted that creating the BIF would consolidate overlapping scientific objectives of the three previous facilities and thus reduce operating costs by streamlining administrative and technical operations, without sacrificing any of the services that were offered by the original facilities. The services offered by this Facility have applications in clinical, translational and basic research. This is reflected by the center-wide use of the Facility resources. Since the last review, the BIF was utilized by 39 users from all five of the Center's Research Programs, 37 of whom were peer-review funded investigators. This Facility provides essential technical and scientific support as it has generated data that appeared in 60 peer reviewed publications, 18 of which reported collaborative studies that were fostered in part by interactions facilitated by the BIF. This Facility is a highly valued resource at the Center as is evident by the significant investment of Institutional funds for capital equipment. Equipment purchased during this funding period include a multispectral confocal microscope, Spectral Karyotype (SKY) equipment, a high-field MRI system (7-Tesla Bruker DRX) for anatomic imaging, a Caliperls IVIS spectrum that detects luciferase or fluorescently tagged cells in animals, and a Visen FMT2500 which detects the three dimensional distribution of enzymatically activated optical probes (metalloproteinases, cathepsin, elastase) or fluorescently tagged probes in live animals. These new technologies significantly expanded the capabilities of this Facility by providing users the ability to collect real-time information at the tissue, cellular and subcellular levels. The investment in equipment along with assay and protocol development conducted by a dedicated staff continue to provide users with the latest advances in imaging technologies. These vital services thus enhance the research programs of investigators and facilitate intra and interprogrammatic interactions.
A major focus of the post-genomic era is the characterization of gene function at the molecular, cellular, organ and organism levels. Biological imaging has become a vital technology in modern cancer research.
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