An award is made to support the acquisition of a multiphoton confocal microscope to address the research needs of a large, diverse group of researchers in multiple departments at Washington University and in the St. Louis area. The new system will be housed in the Biology Department Imaging Core and will be readily accessible to university and regional users. The new imaging capabilities of this instrument will enable cutting edge multidisciplinary research and promote a well-prepared, diverse STEM workforce including students in underrepresented groups. The microscope will enhance the hands-on training of undergraduates through existing courses, in addition to the many Independent Study undergraduates that already use the Core. Furthermore, the instrument will enable the development of new teaching modules for other undergraduate biology classes where the need to procure data for many students in a short time frame precludes the use of existing instruments. This instrument will also have a large impact on underrepresented students involved in the Science Career Explorations programs, YMCA campus Y program for inner-city school children, and ENDURE program for underrepresented students entering neuroscience graduate school.
The field of live cell imaging has recently enabled researchers to resolve physiological and molecular events in cells deep within tissues with micron- and millisecond-resolution. The new multiphoton system will provide deep, fast and super-resolution imaging technology for the first time to users in the departments of Biology, Physics, and Engineering at Washington University and from area institutions. Initial research uses for the new system will include work on cortical microtubules in plant cells; analysis of biosensors in root cells and pollen dynamics. Other researchers working with animal systems will study neuronal cell populations, tendon fascicles, and a range of other topics. Results from these studies will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, presented at scientific meetings, and used in both training and outreach activities.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.