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Super-Resolution Upgrade for Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope

Department of Physiology and Biophysics








This proposal requests hardware and software upgrades to the Keck Microscopy Center’s most advanced laser scanning confocal microscope to enhance its potential for student research and provide currently unavailable Super-Resolution confocal imaging capability. The W. M. Keck Microscopy Center is a light microscopy imaging facility at the UW that has provided microscopy training and services to hundreds UW students since it was established in 1990; in 2018 alone, 60 trained graduate students and 14 trained undergraduate students utilized Keck Center microscopes for their research. The Keck Center is co-administered by the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and the Department of Pharmacology, but use of the facility is not limited to these departments and is potentially available to all UW students for basic science and biomedical research. The state-of-the-art widefield and laser scanning confocal microscope systems already available at the Keck Center are too costly for the majority of individual labs to maintain and operate, so the microscopy services provided by the Keck Center are vital for many student research projects at the UW that require advanced light microscopy techniques such as confocal. Furthermore, the Keck Center manager provides consultation for student research, both for currently existing projects and for those being planned. For the past 5 years, the Keck Center’s Leica SP8X has been the most advanced scanning confocal microscope system available at any UW imaging facility; technological advances within that time have now made available a variety of impactful upgrades to this system. The requested confocal scan head and workstation upgrades to this system will dramatically improve the speed and operational efficiency of the Leica SP8X for all student users. Importantly, these hardware upgrades and the proposed LASX software upgrades will new provide new Lightning Super-Resolution confocal capability to student users, which is currently unavailable in any UW imaging facility and therefore unavailable to the vast majority of UW students. Dr. Nathaniel Peters, the Keck Center Manager, will train and assist student users with this new technology and will implement and host a monthly UW Student Microscopy Open House at the Keck Center to provide demonstrations of this technology and consultation services.

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