UCSD to Acquire Cutting-Edge Electron Microscope for Biomedical Research

By Skip Cynar, 858-822-0738, cynar@ucsd.edu

San Diego, CA, June 12, 2007 -- UCSD's National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) has been awarded a large grant to assist in the purchase of a new high energy electron microscope.  Today's announcement by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will afford NCMIR scientists an opportunity to explore new microscope technologies for advancing research benefiting biomedical research.  UCSD's award is the only grant this year for an advanced electron microscope from NIH's High-End Instrumentation (HEI) program.

Mark Ellisman
Mark Ellisman

The $2 million grant will allow NCMIR to acquire a high-performance intermediate voltage transmission electron microscope (IVEM) for automated 3D electron tomography and other methods being developed at UCSD. To be installed within the university's Center for Research in Biological Systems (CRBS), the new microscope will provide researchers with opportunities to explore sophisticated new electron microscopy modes to augment and advance electron microscopic tomography, scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), and high-angle-annular dark-field microscopy.

NCMIR, an NCRR/NIH Biomedical Technology Research Center, was established at UC San Diego in 1989 to develop computer-aided advanced microscopy for acquisition of structural and functional data in the 1-100 um3 dimensional range. NCMIR is also affiliated with the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

"The award to acquire a cutting-edge instrument will enable our center to continue to lead the development of 3D and 4D imaging and analysis technologies that are helping researchers illuminate and discriminate new biological structures and functions," explained NCMIR's director, Mark Ellisman, an academic participant in Calit2. "The new scope offers new avenues of research for elucidating the mechanisms underlying diseases of the nervous system as well as advancing studies into the cellular and molecular processes relevant to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few."

UC San Diego is one of eleven universities (U. Arizona, UCSD, U. Colorado, U. Connecticut, Johns Hopkins U., U. Maryland, U. Texas, Vanderbilt U., U. Washington, U. Wisconsin, and Yale University) and three medical institutions (Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, Calif., and the Nathan S. Kline Inst. for Psychiatric Research in Menand, N.Y.) receiving awards in this round of funding.

"These high-performance imaging instruments and other advanced technologies enable both basic discoveries that shed light on the underlying causes of disease and the development of novel therapies to treat them," said Barbara Alving, M.D., NCRR Director.  "The value of this investment in advanced equipment is greatly leveraged because each of these rare tools is used by a number of investigators, advancing a broad range of research projects."

To qualify for an HEI award, institutions identified three or more NIH-funded investigators whose research required the requested instrument.  More information about the High-End Instrumentation program is available at: http://www.ncrr.nih.gov/biomedical_technology/high-end_instrumentation/.

About the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research
NCMIR at the University of California, San Diego, develops state-of-the-art 3-D imaging and analysis technologies to help biomedical researchers understand biological structure and function relationships in cells and tissues in the dimensional range between 5nm3 and 50µm3. http://ncmir.ucsd.edu

About the National Center for Research Resources
NCRR provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the environments and tools they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases. With this support, scientists make biomedical discoveries, translate these findings to animal-based studies, and then apply them to patient-oriented research. Ultimately, these advances result in cures and treatments for both common and rare diseases. Through collaborations and networks, NCRR connects researchers with one another, and with patients and communities across the nation. These connections bring together innovative research teams and the power of shared resources, multiplying the opportunities to improve human health. 
www.ncrr.nih.gov .

Related Links

Center for Research in Biological Systems
NCRR HEI news release 12-June-07