Stereology provides an important contribution to the advancement in biomedical research by improving the consistency and dependability of quantitative analytical results produced in the laboratory and reported in scientific publications. Most scientific journals are now requiring authors to only report quantitative data from morphological analyses that are obtained using stereological methods. However, the cost of setting up a stereology system in individual laboratories is usually cost-prohibitive. Our broad long-term objective is to provide a shared stereology system that will advance the research goals of four highly productive investigators at the University of Kentucky with a shared interest in examining changes in brain morphology in physiological and pathophysiological processes of the brain and spinal cord. This instrument will be used to detect changes in nerve cells, brain structures, or spinal cord structures and allow us to quantify these changes using universally accept stereological methods from samples derived from cellular clinical and/or preclinical sources and to do so with unprecedented resolution, precision and sensitivity. Other instruments of different configurations potentially available for some of these analyses are heavily used for other purposes. Consequently, these investigators are forced to use indirect or inadequate methodologies to accomplish their research goals or to use appropriate instrumentation on a collaborative basis with investigators at other institutions. Acquisition of this instrument would allow this group of investigators to complete their current and future research projects far more efficiently to generate optimal research outcomes.
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