The application is to fund the purchase of a Nikon Biostation CT high-content incubator microscope, which will be part of the Nikon Imaging Center (NIC) within the Center for Advanced Microscopy (CAM) at Northwestern University (NU) Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM). CAM exists to provide training, access, support and expertise to our user base in the area of microscopy. Our goal is to provide excellent technical support in a collaborative environment, facilitating access to cutting edge microscopy instrumentation. We continually strive to provide our users with better instruction and guidance, as well as to ensure that our instrumentation is the best currently available. In a facility with nearly 20 instruments, including electron microscopy, live-cell imaging is a growing area of interest for our user base. In particular we currently cannot support high-content live-cell imaging whereby multiple samples can be interrogated in parallel for screening applications as well as to improve user access, reduce variance and provide higher statistical power to experiments. Thus this is a severe limitation to the NIH funded research projects of our user base. The rationale for this application is that a large number of our users currently require high-content live-cell imaging to support NIH funded research projects. In the last year 187 different research groups have used our facility, most with NIH funding. ~50% of our revenue is derived directly from NIH grants to our users and ~15% of salary support for facility staff is directly contributed by the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC) P30 grant from NCI. In addition to researchers from FSM, we also support users from other schools at Northwestern University, members of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC), and external users. In particular the 14 proposed Major and Minor Users of the requested instrument represent 16 funded NIH grants that will directly benefit from the ability to perform high-content live-cell imaging. High-content live cell imaging requirements among our user base are growing and we are currently unable to adequately support this critical imaging area. The ability to effectively support a new Nikon Biostation CT high- content incubator microscope is already available, including facility space, staff time and financial and management plans. The Users named in this application require high-content live-cell imaging, in particular a self-contained incubator system with a multi-well plate stacker and robotic arm. Thus, purchasing a Nikon Biostation CT high-content incubator microscope will greatly facilitate their (NIH funded) research improving the efficiency of performing their experiments and statistical power of their analyses.
The Center for Advanced Microscopy (CAM) at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) includes one of the three prestigious Nikon Imaging Centers (NICs) in the United States, and while live- cell imaging requirements for our user base are increasing explosively, currently we do not have the instrumentation to support high-content live-cell imaging. A large number of users, in particular several with active NIH grants, require access to an incubator microscope that provides the ability to image numerous multi- well plates in parallel, and therefore we are requesting funds to purchase a Nikon Biostation CT. Our facility has the space, expertise, management structure and user base to provide seamless integration of this instrument and immediate high-level utilization.