This MRI award funds the acquisition of a LSM710 laser scanning confocal microscope to support research and training in plant signaling at the University of North Texas by providing imaging capabilities that are required for molecular and biochemical studies at the cellular and sub-cellular levels. In addition, the confocal microscope will enhance research and training in developmental physiology, eco-toxicology, neurobiology and microbiology. The LSM710 will come equipped with a 34-channel spectral detector that will facilitate studying the in situ expression pattern of genes, intracellular protein localization and protein-protein interactions, changes in Ca2+, reactive oxygen species and sugar fluxes, and macromolecular dynamics. Broader Impacts: The LSM710 will benefit undergraduate and graduate students and post-docs by providing them training in the application of imaging technology for research and development. The confocal microscope will also provide opportunities to encourage and broaden the participation and training in the Life Sciences of underrepresented minorities, high school-aged students and future secondary teachers through the McNair program, the Teach North Texas program, the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, the Honors College, the NSF S-STEM supported (#0807128) Fostering Outstanding Cohorts in Undergraduate Science (FOCUS) Scholarships program, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education program at the University of North Texas. The LSM710 will support research by these students. The instrument will positively impact the environment and society by supporting research on the discovery, function and application of signaling mechanisms in plants, which will augment sustainable agriculture, industry and renewable natural resources.

Project Report

This Major Research Instrumentation award has provided funds for the acquisition of a LSM710 laser-scanning confocal microscope to promote research in plant signaling and other areas of Life Sciences at the University of North Texas (UNT). The LSM710 was acquired and commissioned in 2012. Since then this microscope has been utilized by several students and scientists for their research. The imaging power and versatility of this equipment has facilitated research of twelve groups in a variety of areas of Life Sciences, including cell and developmental biology of plants and animals, response of plants and animals to stress, interaction between plants and other organisms, developing approaches for improving plant productivity and quality, and developing novel plant-derived bio-products. The availability of the LSM710 has also promoted collaborative projects at UNT and between UNT researchers and labs at other institutions, and resulted in the development of a new course in bioimaging, and another that promotes undergraduate research in cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. In these courses students were provided training on the application of bioimaging techniques for studies in Life Sciences. The LSM710 has also contributed to delivery in a graduate level Bioinstrumentation course. Via its use in these courses the LSM710 has enhanced instruction and training of undergraduate and graduate students in cell and molecular biology.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Robert Fleischmann
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University of North Texas
United States
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