Looking Into the Life Sciences Microscopy Center

Date: 
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Author: 
Benjamin Abrams

The UCSC Life Sciences Microscopy Center is a shared instrumentation facility supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), and UCSC’s Division of Physical and Biological Sciences. The center serves the research community at UCSC and provides personalized assistance on various aspects of imaging, from experimental design to training on the shared microscopes and image analysis.  Though the facility is primarily used by the biology research community, it also serves patrons doing related research in chemistry and engineering.

The facility offers a wide variety of cutting-edge imaging tools, including widefield, confocal, and 2-photon microscopes as well as two state-of-the-art image analysis and rendering software packages, Imaris and Neurolucida.  The facility also offers the deconvolution package Autoquant.   Additionally, the center facilitates access to a lab-owned spinning-disk confocal microscope and a transmission electron microscope.  Aside from guidance and training, the facility director, Dr. Benjamin Abrams, offers letters of support for grant and fellowship applications, support of lab-owned scopes, and assisted imaging sessions, and he is sometimes a collaborator on research projects.  Ben also enjoys giving part of the graduate core course for MCD biology and participating as a guest lecturer in other courses.

Most recently Ben collaborated with Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology Department (METX) Professor Fitnat Yildiz, grant writer David States, and various participating faculty members on a successful NIH S10 grant for a new Zeiss 880 confocal microscope.  This new instrument was installed in the Biomedical Sciences Building in October 2017 and features a wide variety of laser lines and objective lenses for standard confocal imaging.  The scope also features environmental control equipment for extended live cell imaging sessions and Airy scan super-resolution technology.  With a soon-to-be-installed software update, Airy scan promises to deliver a full twofold increase in resolution beyond conventional imaging, and is expected to provide a resolution down to approximately 120nm in X, Y, and 350nm in Z.

To learn more about the facility, please visit our website.