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Award Abstract #1229702

MRI: Acquisition of confocal microscopy system for dynamic imaging and analysis in research and learning at Trinity University

Div Of Biological Infrastructure
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Initial Amendment Date: July 17, 2012
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Latest Amendment Date: July 17, 2012
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Award Number: 1229702
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Robert Fleischmann
DBI Div Of Biological Infrastructure
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: January 1, 2013
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End Date: December 31, 2014 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $450,120.00
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Investigator(s): Jonathan King jonathan.king@trinity.edu (Principal Investigator)
Franklyn Healy (Co-Principal Investigator)
James Roberts (Co-Principal Investigator)
Veronica Acosta (Co-Principal Investigator)
Tyisha Williams (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Trinity University
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212-7200 (210)999-7246
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Program Reference Code(s):
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Program Element Code(s): 1189


The NSF-Major Research Instrumentation program will enable Trinity University of San Antonio, TX to acquire a Nikon A1 confocal microscopy system. Confocal microscopy technology produces high resolution, three-dimensional, multicolor images or videos obtained from live or fixed biological specimens. Biological systems are dynamic and regulated through complex interactions between molecules. The confocal microscope technology optically sections through the sample, minimizing out of focus light to yield superior image quality and three-dimensional image reconstructions. The confocal microscope will allow investigators to determine spatial and temporal interactions through the use of multi-color fluorescence labeling. Research by the PI and four coPIs addresses a diverse array of biological problems, including epithelial cell junction homeostasis, metabolism and autophagy in the central nervous system, segmental regeneration, microbial metabolite biosynthesis, oxidant signaling and mitochondrial function, muscle fiber type analysis and mathematical modeling of cell migration. High-speed, multicolor, three-dimensional reconstruction with submicron resolution capability permits discovery and analysis of complex biological phenomena in all of these areas. The confocal system equipped with the spectral detector minimizes background signal and allows investigators to use dyes with overlapping spectral characteristics. Colocalization and molecular studies require the high-speed resonant scan-head and spectral detector for accurate, real-time spectral differentiation to resolve transient interactions. The environmental chamber in combination with the Perfect Focus system enables live cell research of sub-cellular components and imaging of molecular interactions in real-time.

The Nikon A1 confocal microscope system is to be housed in the Imaging Suite within the new Center for Sciences and Innovation at Trinity University. The Imaging Suite will bring together Trinity University faculty and student researchers as well as faculty and student researchers from local institutions, including the University of the Incarnate Word and St. Phillips Community College, to address a range a biological questions requiring confocal microscopy. The investigators have an established record for engaging undergraduate students in their research and using their research programs to develop innovative learning experiences for the classroom and teaching laboratory. Undergraduate science courses in Biology, Neuroscience, Mathematics and Physics will experience how confocal microscopy may be used in discovery and investigations. Trinity University will host a series of confocal microscopy workshops for the area that address both theoretical and practical considerations for this technology. The investigators are also partnering with local science educators and undergraduate students planning careers in science education.


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Sunsong RC* and Martinez Acosta VG. "Investigations of segmental regeneration in Lumbriculus variegatus.," Integrative and Comparative Biology, 2014, p. 10.1093/i.


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