This Major Research Instrumentation award to Salisbury University for the acquisition of a BioTek Synergy H1m microplate spectrophotometer will facilitate research, training, and teaching in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry. The Synergy H1m microplate reader is a programmable, highly sensitive instrument that rapidly measures UV-visible light absorbance, fluorescence, or chemiluminescence at precisely specified wavelengths within a large number of small samples. Acquisition of this flexible, low maintenance yet high performance instrument will enable a wide range of multi-sample, temperature-controlled, kinetic bioassays and analyses that are beyond existing technology and capacity. The research projects of at least four Salisbury University faculty in cell and molecular biology, physiology, and biochemistry that will benefit from this instrument include those involving the study of gene-specific effects on oxidative stress, regulation of deubiquitinase enzyme activity, assigning biochemical functions to uncharacterized proteins with known structures, and exploring the effect of rapid temperature fluctuations on metabolic processes and cell membrane structure. This high capacity, versatile, and sensitive instrument enhances current approaches to on-going research questions, facilitates existing collaborations, and will inspire future research projects.
In addition to the significant impact that the Synergy H1m microplate reader will have on Salisbury University's research productivity, the instrument will also facilitate the training of students who will become the next generation of scientists and technicians. Salisbury University is a mid-sized, regionally accredited, four-year comprehensive institution with a focus on excellence in undergraduate education and a strong commitment to student research engagement. The undergraduate research and Master of Science in Applied Biology students working with faculty at Salisbury University, and their collaborator at the neighboring University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, will become adept at the instrument's use and subsequent data analysis. At Salisbury University, students in both the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry will gain exposure to the instrument, its capacities, and the power of its applications through incorporation into cell biology and biochemistry laboratory course curricula. All students enrolled in biochemistry laboratory courses will benefit immensely from the expanded possibilities in protein purification, enzyme kinetics, and protein stability analyses facilitated by the H1m microplate reader. Exposure to this advanced-technology instrument and the demonstration of its 'real-life' applications in high throughput screening techniques will increase excitement and nurture students' interest in fields related to biology and chemistry.