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New confocal laser scanning microscope ready for action

£200,000 investment will enhance Surrey’s world-leading research.

Dr Rob Francis with the confocal laser scanning microscope; Epithelial cells with stained nucleus, membrane and actin cytoskeleton

The high specification Nikon A1 confocal laser scanning unit is attached to an Eclipse Ti microscope and features a wide field camera, offering combined field and confocal imagery.

The microscope cost around £205,000 and offers a fast scan speed for live cell imaging and zoom capabilities that enable high resolution close ups of cells. It can also has a ‘Perfect focus system’ to enable the recording of images over longer periods of time and features advanced software for image analysis, including the ability to make 4 dimensional videos of cell changes.

Among other projects, the new equipment will be used for Ca2+ signalling in cells 10µm (100th of a millimetre) across, in response to stimuli; imaging of the formation of bacterial biofilms and the growth of bacteria under set conditions; the cell biology of viral infections; imaging cancer biopsies to see the immune cells within; and the study of the effects of different nutrients on cell function and the movements of nutrients through the cells.

Dr Rob Francis, Research Fellow in Bio Imaging and Flow Cytometry, said: “It’s a really nice piece of equipment and will be available for all members of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, from Masters students to research academics. It can produce better quality images than the department’s current equipment, and offers a 405nm laser and extended functions enabling multipoint 4-dimensional imaging.”

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