The PI's requests MRI funding to acquire a mobile facility for flow cytometry and cell sorting analysis of microorganisms and training of students, including underrepresented minority undergraduate and graduate students. This mobile facility will form the core of a collaborative resource center to enable students and researchers at UCI and other research institutions to rapidly analyze both very small microbes (e.g. bacteria or viruses) as well as larger protozoa such as Toxoplasma gondii. The mobile capacity will allow researchers to sort live populations at the sampling site (e.g., at sea). The facility will be used primarily for research in three areas: 1) bacterial genomics and in situ physiology, 2) viral abundance and interaction with marine host bacteria, and 3) interactive parasite/host evolution studies.
A particular strength of the proposal is its integration of student training programs at UCI to include flow cytometry and environmental microbiology. The inclusion of Dr. Mota-Bravo as the director of the Minority Science Program should ensure success in attracting and training students from underrepresented groups. The proposed equipment will also strengthen the infrastructure for an array of environmental microbiology programs directed by investigators in 6 departments at UCI, and collaborators at USC, so the impact of its availability is high.