A grant has been awarded to Grinnell College under the direction of Dr. Nancy Rempel-Clower to purchase a quantitative microscopy workstation for collaborative student/faculty research in neuroscience and developmental biology. The microscopy workstation consists of a research microscope equipped with confocal capability and a computerized system for neuroanatomical analysis and 3-dimensional reconstruction. This quantitative microscopy workstation will support research across both the biology and the psychology departments at Grinnell, and will be used to address a variety of research questions in the areas of neuroscience and developmental biology.
The quantitative microscopy workstation will enable investigations that will contribute to our understanding of basic questions about neural and developmental processes. The new equipment will be used for investigations of: 1) the neuroanatomical connections between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in the rat; 2) the genetic basis of the development of the C. elegans pharynx; 3) lens formation in chicken embryos; 4) synaptic plasticity in the lizard neuromuscular junction; and 5) the neuronal and neurochemical substrates that regulate the structure of REM sleep.
The proposed activities using the microscopy workstation have wide-ranging broader impacts. Grinnell College strongly supports interdisciplinary research and teaching, which characterizes the use of the proposed microscopy workstation. The equipment acquired with this grant will be used across departments to meet the research needs of faculty and their students for sophisticated microscopic analyses. Students currently gain some experience in microscopy in several existing courses, and the new workstation provides a valuable opportunity for students to expand their microscopy skills in more specialized applications, training that will serve them well in future research endeavors. Grinnell College is a leader in training underrepresented groups in the sciences, and the faculty who will use the microscopy workstation have been integrally involved in programs to enhance science education for these students. The workstation acquired with this grant will significantly enhance the College's infrastructure by providing sophisticated tools for quantitative microscopic analysis for neuroscience and developmental biology applications, and will enrich the research training and learning of a broad cross-section of students.