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The Mount Extends its Research Capacity

cell Emmitsburg, Maryland - Mount St. Mary’s University extends its research capacity by collaborating with local universities in obtaining a $273,698 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation program.

The grant will go towards the purchase of a laser scanning confocal microscope which will be housed at Loyola University in Maryland.

The advantage of a confocal microscope over traditional microscopes is that it allows for “optical sectioning.” It has the ability to acquire focused images from very narrow depths. Taking multiple consecutive images from different depths allows students to reconstruct, with the aid of a computer, 3-D topologically complex specimens. This allows for high resolution imaging of intracellular structures, in a way that is not possible with traditional microscopy.

Mount Assistant Professor of Biology Dana Ward Ph.D., who was a collaborating investigator on the grant to develop a multi-institutional core confocal microscopy facility, says this will significantly aid research in the biology of cells.

“This is a great opportunity for Mount students and faculty,” says Dr. Ward. “This piece of equipment will be particularly useful to students taking courses with a heavy cell biology focus and utilized by students doing cell-biology focused research projects. Having access to this microscope will not only enable new educational and research initiatives, but it will also open the door for faculty and student collaborations with scientists at other universities in the area.”

The laser scanning confocal microscope is available to all collaborating universities, including Loyola, Towson University, Mount St. Mary’s University, and Washington College.

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