An award is made to Illinois State University to purchase a high-speed fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS). These powerful instruments are widely used in many fields of basic research for identification and rapid isolation of living cells on the basis of size/shape and the color of their fluorescence after incubation with specific dyes. Four major faculty users and seven minor faculty users in three different departments on campus will benefit from the use of this state-of-the-art instrument in their research, which permits experiments that are not currently possible. The FACS will be widely used by undergraduate and graduate students directly as part of their research training. Additionally, students in several courses on campus will receive hands-on training on sample preparation, data collection and analysis, which provides them with important laboratory skills. Underrepresented minority students in other campus programs will be actively recruited to participate in these research activities. These unique opportunities support the institution's goal for students to engage in high-quality, high-impact educational experiences.
The FACS accommodates particles of many sizes ranging from bacteria to very large cells. Multiple lasers allow for simultaneous detection of numerous different parameters and mixtures of cells can be rapidly isolated to greater than 99% purity. This instrument will enable interdisciplinary research on white blood cells and immune function in reptiles, aging and the immune system in mice, disease ecology in bumblebees, host-parasite interactions in insects, separation and study of avian blood cells, analysis of Leishmania parasites, study of neuron function in the insect brain, and studies on pollen production in plants. Acquisition of this instrument will also help recruit and retain talented faculty, including women. The results of these diverse studies can have wide-ranging impact from disease ecology to conservation efforts to understanding basic cell functions and will have a significant impact on research productivity at Illinois State University.