We are requesting funds to acquire the Olympus FV3000 confocal microscopy imaging system through the Shared Equipment Evaluation Program (ShEEP) under the Research Equipment Management program offered by the Office of Research and Development (ORD). Olympus Corporation (Center Valley, PA, USA) manufactures the FV3000 system and is the sole source provider due to their unique buy-back system for our current outdated equipment. The requested Olympus system is a multifunctional integrative modular system that offers a user friendly interface, acquisition and analysis software, and produces high quality images over a broad range of microscopy uses. The Olympus FV3000 confocal microscope system will replace the outdated FV300 Olympus confocal system that has been in use for approximately 18 years. This system is out of warranty and has limited imaging capabilities, using low-resolution capture systems that are not comparable to modern imaging devices. Its outdated gas laser technology will soon need to be replaced and the software interface is no longer supported. Because this new Olympus microscope is significantly easier to use, and has much faster acquisition times, we anticipate major cost savings by reducing the person-hours required to obtain high quality, publication-ready images. The system is capable of performing automated cell counting, time-lapse imaging, calcium flux imaging and imaging of prepared tissue. As configured in the quotation, the system also can image live cells and whole animals. The underlying imaging technology and flexible programming makes this equipment a ?next generation? system on the cutting edge of laboratory microscopy. Light emitting diodes (LED) lasers are the source of illumination and significantly enhance the imaging capabilities, offering a superior and safer alternative to traditional mercury arc light sources. These lasers are also much more economic with very long lifespans. We recently received funding for another imaging system that allows for rapid imaging of fixed and living tissues and cells. However this EVOS system is not a confocal microscope and does not offer the flexibility that the Olympus system offers. In addition, since much of our previous data was obtained with the outdated Olympus system, the similar yet updated methodology used with the proposed new system will provide seamless results that will be more easily comparable to previously obtained images. In addition, estimates of the number of investigators using the EVOS system projected maximal use at 40 hrs per week. The addition of the Olympus system will allow expansion of imaging techniques by other investigators which will enhance the recruitment capabilities of the Minneapolis VAHCS Research Department. We anticipate that the acquisition of this equipment will further modernize our core Research microscopy capabilities, with the end goal of increasing support for and the efficiency of our ongoing translational VA research. If funded, the instrument will be housed within a dedicated imaging room in the Minneapolis VAHCS Research Service. Dr. Krug and the Minneapolis VAHCS Research Office will oversee the training and usage of the equipment under the full support of Minneapolis VAHCS Director, Mr. Patrick J. Kelly and the Research & Development Committee. The identified major and minor users collectively represent numerous VA research disciplines from both basic and translational research (neuroscience, cardiovascular research, cancer, stem cell therapies, obesity, and Gulf War Illness). At least 85% of the instrument capacity will be used by VA funded researchers and less than 25% will be occupied by minor users. In order to maintain the status of the Minneapolis VAHCS as one of the largest and most active research programs, it is critical that cutting edge technology be available to our researchers. The addition of this microscopy system would facilitate research from multiple disciplines to acquire and analyze data to address the specific needs of US Veterans. Further, this would foster multidisciplinary collaborations between Minneapolis VAHCS colleagues and promote collaborative, benchtop to translational science that would benefit all Americans.
We are seeking funds for purchase of the Olympus FV3000 Confocal Microscope (manufactured in Center Valley, PA, USA). This integrative microscope system offers a complete range of sophisticated fluorescent microscope functions that can be adapted for almost any need. This system is semi-automated, requires very little training, and will allow new and senior investigators, and trainees to obtain high-quality reproducible research data. The ease of use and value offers Minneapolis VAHCS the ability to advance ongoing research efforts and foster collaborative efforts in Alzheimer?s disease, cancer (pancreatic and liver), cardiovascular disease, obesity and Gulf War Illness. This device will replace an obsolete common service microscope with limited and outdated imaging capabilities. This equipment will not only fill a gap in sorely needed basic science equipment for current use, but will provide a future investment for researchers from multiple disciplines to expand our understanding of diverse illnesses impacting the health care needs of US Veterans.