This Major Research Instrumentation award funds the purchase of a bench-top laser scanning confocal microscope for biological research in the department of Biological Sciences at Delaware State University (DSU). Laser confocal microscopy enables visualization and imaging deep within both living and fixed cells and tissues, and provides the opportunity to collect sharply defined optical sections from which three-dimensional renderings can be generated. Until recently, gaining the full benefits provided by confocal microscopy required expertise in the set-up, acquisition, processing and analysis of images. In large research institutions, this expertise is provided by well-staffed core facilities. However, in a small institution such as DSU, faculty and students must conduct their own imaging experiments. The simpler, more automated Olympus Fluoview FV10i confocal laser-scanning microscope system will provide DSU researchers and students the full benefits of confocal microscopy for their research projects. Most of the planned research projects involve acquisition of time-lapse images in live-cells, which is available in the FV10i bench-top confocal microscope. Research projects benefiting from this instrumentation includes: studies of plant virus-host interactions, development of the neurotransmitter phenotype of motor neurons, protein interactions in Caenorhabditis elegans behavior mutants, and steroid hormone function in neural development and others.
Laser confocal microscopes allow non-destructive and non-invasive microscopic imaging in three dimensions for the analysis of intact samples. The Fluoview FV10i confocal microscope represents the next-generation multi-user laser confocal microscope and significantly enhances the research capability of DSU, a Historically-Black university. The Department of Biological Sciences where this instrument will be housed has graduate programs in biology and neuroscience. The user-friendly nature of Fluoview FV10i confocal microscope will allow students and researchers at DSU to image live-cells and tissues. It will also facilitate integration of several outreach programs that DSU offers to K-12 students and teachers and thus promote teaching, learning and research training.