Gustavus Adolphus College and its students and faculty have a new high-end scientific research tool – a Zeiss LSM 700 laser (scanning) confocal microscope. Gustavus is currently the only liberal arts college in the nation to own this model Zeiss confocal microscope, which was released in the U.S. last January.
Valued at approximately $250,000, the microscope was purchased in part with funds the College obtained through a $1 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant announced in April 2008.
“The confocal provides Gustavus students and faculty with a state-of-the-art resource for study and research at the cellular and molecular level,” said Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry Jeff Dahlseid. “The instrument can determine the location and shape of three-dimensional cellular structures and quantify dynamic processes in living cells with remarkable spatial and temporal resolution. It opens up entirely new avenues for research projects, both collaborative and interdisciplinary, and is already being put to good use by students and faculty.”
Confocal microscopy permits innovative approaches to unraveling the underlying mechanisms of cell communication, gene expression, and cellular development. Microscopes like Gustavus’s Zeiss allow scientists to create clean three-dimensional images of a sample through a controllable focal plane and elimination of out-of-focus glare.
The fully equipped, entirely motorized confocal instrument featuring four lasers, three detectors, and superior optics, will eventually serve as the centerpiece of a new Visualization and Imaging Center in the Gustavus Alfred Nobel Hall of Science.
The largest private funder of science education in the United States, HHMI’s grant program works to enhance science education for students at all levels. It has invested more than $1.2 billion in grants to reinvigorate life science education at both research universities and liberal arts colleges and to engage the nation’s leading scientists in teaching.
Here is a short video about the new microscope:
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