This application requests funds to purchase a new laser spinning disc microscope (LSDM) to be used as a shared resource for researchers at Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), two schools on a shared campus in Piscataway, New Jersey. There is currently no laser spinning disc microscope (LSDM) available anywhere on the Rutgers or RWJMS campuses. The NIH-funded researchers requesting this instrument are studying fundamental problems in cell biology, taking advantage of model organisms to study conserved biological processes that are essential for healthy growth and development and that are compromised in disease conditions. C. elegans studies of longevity and neurodegeneration in the Driscoll lab are identifying the processes and the molecules that control lifespan and that become altered in injured neurons. The Wadsworth lab has identified conserved molecules required for proper axonal migrations across metazoan species. Studies of endocytosis in the Grant lab have identified key mechanisms for the regulation of receptor trafficking, identifying many new regulators in worms and humans. C. elegans studies of the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton by the Extracellular Matrix during embryonic development in the Soto Lab are identifying new roles for axonal guidance molecules organizing tissues, and identifying new components of the actin polarization machinery. The Barr Lab uses cilia in developing C. elegans as a model system to study human ciliopathies, or diseases of cilia. Drosophila studies of meiosis in the McKim lab have identified molecules required for proper fertility through the development of germ cells, while C. elegans studies in the Singson lab have identified the first sperm receptor and other molecules required for fertilization and the egg-to-oocyte transition. Live imaging of biological events is required to analyze these cellular processes, yet all of these researchers lack access to a local laser spinning disc confocal microscope. Having this instrument available would have an immediate impact: during a one-month demonstration of the Zeiss LSDM system three manuscripts incorporated images obtained from the demonstration instrument, and the instrument was in constant use. This instrument will clearly accelerate the acquisition of data by the 7 NIH-funded researchers listed in this proposal. The data obtained will dramatically enhance our understanding of such essential cellular phenomena as protein trafficking, polarization of the cytoskeleton and regeneration in neurons.
The addition of a laser spinning disc confocal microscopy system for the researchers at two adjacent universities on a shared campus, Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, will allow these scientists to pursue research projects that will provide us with the insights necessary to understand how cells behave during normal development and in disease states. These researchers study essential processes of cells including how cells move, how cells like neurons are healed after injury, and how molecules are localized correctly to specific regions of cells.