This proposal is directed at purchasing a confocal microscope to be used by several teams of interdisciplinary scientists for research and education at Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU), and to be shared with various neighboring Institutions (Cal State Fullerton University, Cal Poly Pomona, and the Claremont Colleges). Specifically, this project will not only gradually replace the current and outdated confocal microscope but will add the following research capabilities: live imaging with less phototoxicity, spectral imaging, faster imaging, allowing for accurate FRET analysis, and high-resolution 3D imaging. The requested equipment will be located in a Core Facility dedicated to imaging technologies, and will be accessible to qualified researchers and students. This instrument will also be used to train postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate students from the neighboring Institutions in imaging techniques. Finally, it will also be used in a partnering program with a neighboring High School, Garey High School, directed at enhancing their STEM programs. Overall, the project is significant in that it will provide state-of-the-art research capability to both WesternU and to the region. It will also provide valuable research training and experience for student users as well, and facilitate collaborative research between WesternU and neighboring institutions.
The microscope will be used by at least 10 primary research teams of WesternU, and will be used for several research projects: Analysis of protein-protein interactions by several investigators investigating signaling pathways involved in regulation of protein synthesis, receptor trafficking, and synaptic function and plasticity; Analysis of calcium imaging in various neuronal populations in response to a variety of extracellular signals; 3D reconstruction of neuronal dendrites under different physiological or pathological conditions; Analysis of neurogenesis and synaptogenesis.