Modern biomedical research requires detection of biomolecules with high sensitivity. Moreover, the quantitation of biochemical interactions requires a high dynamic range, or linearity of measured response over many orders of magnitude. These requirements apply to research involving experimental techniques that vary greatly, including microarrays, cell culture trays, high throughput screening microtiter plates, ELISA plates, gels, blots and storage phosphors. Fortunately, instrumentation platforms exist which can provide sensitive optical measurements for a variety of formats. Further, these instruments maintain a linear response over several (up to five) orders of magnitude with either fine or coarse spatial resolution. Meeting these difficult demands allows research to push forward in a timely, but fundamentally quantitative manner. The main aim of this grant seeks to advance scanning/imaging capabilities at the University of Arizona, by showcasing several funded research programs requiring scanning and imaging technology. Several similar machines have existed on campus and have been used frequently. However, of the two remaining, one is nine years old, non-functional and located on the far side of campus. The other machine belongs to Prof. Roy Parker and will be leaving with him to another university in July 2012. The proposal aims to replace the aging machine with a modern one with three new lasers (red, green &blue) and updated sensitivity.
The use of modern imaging and scanning equipment allows scientists to measure the interactions of the molecules of life with high sensitivity, resolution ad linearity. These imagers are the workhorses that let scientists develop diagnostics of disease, test drugs and measure the fundamental inner workings of cells, reagents, and biomolecules. The speed, accuracy and availability of these machines is a critical step in letting scientists generate the data needed to understand how our bodies work, fight sickness and respond to drugs.