The goal of the High Resolution Imaging Shared Facility (HRISF) is to enable the detection and imaging of molecules in biological systems, which is a vital tool in cancer research .To accomplish this mission, the facility provides access to instrumentation and expertise that supports both fundamental mechanistic studies, and the development and testing of new biomarkers and treatments for cancer. The HRISF was founded in the late 1990s with funds from an NCRR Shared Instrument Grant, a UAB Health Services Foundation award, and significant institutional resources.
The specific aims of the HRISF are: 1) To provide consultation in the design and conduct of Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM),Multi-platform Laser Scanning Microscopy (MPLSM), and digital imaging experiments 2) To provide technical assistance for imaging studies, including consultation concerning specimen preparation, and assistance with image acquisition. 3) To provide assistance in post-acquisition data analysis and interpretation. 4) To work with members of the CCC to identify new ways that these imaging technologies can be employed to enhance their research productivity and overall competitiveness. 5) To adapt sophisticated new imaging techniques, including fluorescence lifetime measurements and 2""^ harmonic generation, to the research problems of CCC members. Many of the instruments required to image molecules at the sub-cellular level would require an investment in expensive equipment and in expertise that generally lie outside the capabilities of any single laboratory. A centralized facility provides access both to cutting-edge technology to acquire images and to personnel with the experience to guide CCC investigators in optimal use of the technology. The HRISF served 55 CCC investigators during the current funding period and their use accounted for 46% of the total facility usage. During this same period, support from the CCC accounted for less than 23% of the total annual operating costs of the facility.
To understand the fundamental mechanisms of the biology of cancer cells, it is important to be able to determine the precise location and behavior of the proteins inside the cells. The High Resolution Imaging Facility provides instrumentation and expertise to support fundamental mechanistic studies of cancer biology. Furthermore, the facility resources support the identification of new biomarkers that are essential for cancer diagnosis and for the development of novel treatments for cancer.
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