New high-tech microscope brings research opportunities to CMU

A new state-of-the-art microscope at Central Michigan University will allow researchers to do live-cell analysis -- technology that will help students and faculty accelerate their understanding of fertility disorders and diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's.

The $450,000 Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope was purchased earlier this year with a National Science Foundation grant. Paired with a high-tech computer, the microscope provides students and researchers with more precise images and research opportunities.

"The newest advances in confocal microscopy technology allow researchers to do live-cell imaging studies that weren't possible in the past," says Jennifer Schisa, the CMU biology professor who wrote the National Science Foundation grant request last year. "We can image the dynamic changes of proteins in living organisms over long periods of time. These types of studies are important to learn how cells respond to environmental changes, such as heat shock, decreased oxygen levels, and aging."

The technology also allows researchers to view more proteins simultaneously, which is key in researching cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other diseases, she says.

The new microscope also opens new doors for students, Schisa says. CMU offers a biology major with an microscopy concentration -- unique in Michigan and one of few such programs nationwide. This technology allows those students to gain valuable training and access to job opportunities that might not otherwise be available.

For students pursuing independent research projects the new technology provides a way to generate publication-quality images of their work for publication and presentations.

The microscope currently is being used for a couple of studies, including one that is exploring fertility problems in older women.

Writer: Jenny Cromie
Source: Central Michigan University

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