A grant has been awarded to Drs. Joseph V. Martin, Georgia A. Arbuckle-Keil, Daniel H. Shain, J. William Whitlow, Jr. and William M. Saidel at Rutgers University to obtain a scanning electron microscope for multidisciplinary use. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) provides high resolution imagery of surfaces ranging from synthetic materials to biological samples. Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX)-equipped scanning electron microscopes also have the capacity to detect heavy metals localized in tissue (e.g., brain) and synthetic polymers. In an effort to foster interdisciplinary research among faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences at the Rutgers/Camden campus, the IPCBS (Information Processing in Complex Biological Systems) group at Camden will acquire an SEM equipped with EDX capabilities. This unit operates under low vacuum, which permits samples to be examined without traditional time-consuming and costly preparative methodologies. Research initiatives that would result from the purchase of this instrument include the detailed morphological characterization of polymers with electroactive properties (Dr. G. Arbuckle-Keil), fine resolution of fungal hyphae for mapping leaf surfaces (Dr. J. Dighton), the accumulation of lead in brain tissue (Drs. J. Martin, W. Saidel, R. Whitlow), the distribution of iodine and zinc in the central nervous system as they relate to thyroid hormone function and circadian rhythms, respectively (Dr. J. Martin, P. Sarkar), characterizing the morphology of an unusual fish eye (Pantadon buchholzi) that receives light simultaneously from air and water (Dr. W. Saidel) and the taxonomic classification of annelid species from the Amazon River (Dr. D. Shain). The ease of use of an SEM will allow graduate and undergraduate researchers to have hands-on experience with a sophisticated research instrument. Courses that can incorporate an SEM component in their curricula include comparative morphology of plants, chemical principles, developmental botany, electron microscopy, general microbiology, instrumental analysis, invertebrate zoology, microtechnique and its applications, mycology and others. High school students will also have access to this instrument through the Science Preparation Alliance of Rutgers and Camden (SPARC). In summary, the acquisition of an SEM at Rutgers/Camden will greatly facilitate a broad range of research and teaching initiatives on this campus.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Helen G. Hansma
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Rutgers University
New Brunswick
United States
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