FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
The University of
Communications and Marketing
Sheila Champlin – (901) 448-4957 or
Dena Owens – (901) 448-4072
William E. Armstrong, PhD, Receives $466,377 Grant for
Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope at
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Memphis, Tenn. (May 18, 2010) – William E. Armstrong, PhD, professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and director of the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has been awarded a grant for $466,377 from the National Center for Research Resources, one of the National Institutes of Health. The award, issued under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will be used to purchase a confocal laser scanning microscope with spectral scanning capability for the Neuroscience Imaging Center at UTHSC. The full grant will be paid in 2010.
In a confocal laser scanning microscope, a laser beam passes through a light source aperture and then is focused by an objective lens into a small (ideally diffraction limited) focal volume within or on the surface of a specimen. In biological applications especially, the specimen typically contains fluorescent labels.
Confocal laser scanning microscopy is a technique for obtaining high resolution optical images with depth selectivity. The key feature of confocal microscopy is its ability to acquire in-focus images from selected depths, a process known as optical sectioning. Images are acquired point-by-point and reconstructed with a computer, allowing three-dimensional reconstructions of topologically-complex objects.
“The features of this particular laser scanning confocal microscope are its enhanced sensitivity over predecessors, and especially its ability to spectrally scan biological tissues for multiple fluorescent markers, with up to 34 channels, and with 10 nm [nanometers] of wavelength resolution,” said Dr. Armstrong. “This means scientists can separate and quantify the simultaneous emissions from fluorescent markers, even when they do not look different to the naked eye. This gives significant flexibility in the number and type of fluorophores* that investigators can choose from as biomarkers within a single tissue section,” he explained.
In the Neuroscience Imaging Center, neuroscientists focus on discovering the anatomy of brain areas using shared equipment such as electron, light and confocal microscopes, and the computer-assisted quantification of neuron number, location and morphology. This imaging center is critical for understanding basic brain function as well as its impairment from injury or disease.
As the flagship statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Offering a broad range of postgraduate training opportunities, the main campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC has additional colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy plus an Allied Health Sciences unit in Knoxville, as well as a College of Medicine campus in Chattanooga. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.
* A fluorophore is a component of a molecule which causes a molecule to be fluorescent. It is a functional group in a molecule that will absorb energy of a specific wavelength and re-emit energy at a different (but equally specific) wavelength. The amount and wavelength of the emitted energy depend on both the fluorophore and the chemical environment of the fluorophore. This technology has particular importance in the field of biochemistry and protein studies.
This study quantifies the economic impact of the UTHSC on the economy of the state of Tennessee for FY2010.
920 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-5544
Fax: (901) 448-8640