This is a request for funds to purchase a PerkinElmer UltraVIEW VoX spinning disk confocal microscope in order to provide high-speed confocal imaging and photobleaching/photoactivation to researchers on Cornell's Ithaca campus. The instrument will be managed under the Microscopy and Imaging Facility (MIF), which houses a variety of optical imaging stations, from widefield microscopes to point scanning confocals to whole mouse luminescence imagers. The existing point scanning confocals are highly used, but the MIF facility, like many across the country, are seeing an increased demand for live cell and tissue imaging. The new instrument will enable faster imaging for measuring processes on the msec timescale, a regime which can only be accessed by point scanners in one dimension. For an equivalent image quality, the spinning disk confocal microscopes have also been shown to be significantly less phototoxic in time lapse studies, which (clearly) can be critical in a researcher's ability to image biological events on the microscope stage. Another currently unmet need has been the capability for fast photobleaching for examining dynamical processes such as membrane diffusion, microtubule growth kinetics and transcription factor binding. The proposed new confocal microscope will be housed in Weill hall, a new $160-million research building dedicated to fostering connections between the physical and life sciences. The research community in this new building is highly interdisciplinary and rapidly growing;10 new faculty hires are expected in the next several years;the majority of these hires will be using the already overburdened MIF resources. This instrument will directly benefit 6 major and at least 3 minor users, all of whom are PI's of NIH-supported research grants. More broadly it would provide new resources for live cell and tissue imaging on campus, enabling researchers to better understand the fundamental molecular mechanisms of cell signaling, vesicle recycling and secretion, cell-matrix interactions, microtubule dynamics, transcriptional dynamics and establishment of polarity in development.
Human diseases are often the result of molecular associations or signaling events that have gone wrong. The instrument requested will allow researchers to investigate these types of molecular mechanisms in live cells on the microscope stage. The major users of this instrument carry out fundamental biological research with implications to a broad spectrum of human health: cancer, immunology and reproduction and development.