Facility to hold Open House this Friday
Big changes — and improvements — to the Integrated Imaging Center at Johns Hopkins University's mean enhanced opportunities for researchers everywhere needing a close-up look at cells, life's smallest building blocks.
This summer, the center relocated from its former headquarters to its new home in 2,500 square feet of freshly renovated space in Dunning Hall on the university's Homewood campus in north Baltimore. The new location is about 1,000 square feet larger than the old, said J. Michael McCaffery, the center's director, who has also recently been appointed as associate research professor in the Biology Department in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
"We are thrilled with the new location and the improvements to the center," McCaffery said. "Though we are a Department of Biology facility, the center is really a microscopy resource for researchers Hopkins-wide, nationally, and even internationally. And the improvements in our physical facility and equipment will only enhance that status."
The center provides convenient access to both conventional and advanced techniques in light and electron microscopy to researchers investigating cellular and subcellular structure and function. It serves scientists not only from Johns Hopkins but also from as far away as Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley.
The newly expanded and improved center is divided into five distinct suites: a combination ultramicrotomy/tissue culture/cell prep room; a comprehensive light microscopy suite, including a Marianas dynamic live cell imaging workstation, two Zeiss LSM 510 META confocal microscopes, a Deltavision deconvolution light microscope and several ZEISS epifluorescence microscopes; a scanning room with a Typhoon and environmental scanning microscope; a wet laboratory; and a transmission electron microscopy suite comprising two Philips TEMs.
The Typhoon scanner, environmental scanning electron microscope and the Marianas workstation are all recently new, costing a total of about $650,000. Like most of the center's equipment, they were acquired through grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
"In our nearly eight years of existence, we have grown from essentially zero equipment to presently having approximately $3.5 million in state-of-the-art equipment, which is astonishing," McCaffery said. "But what makes the IIC particularly unique for our users and collaborators is the comprehensiveness of our instruments and methodologies, and the integrated way that we apply and use them. I doubt you can find a better staff with more enthusiasm and expertise anywhere."
Working with McCaffery at the center are manager Michelle Husain, an expert in light microscopy techniques and computer software, and assistant director Ned Perkins, who is well-versed in light and electron microscopy and all aspects of computer technology.
Also on hand is Johns Hopkins undergraduate Hanano Watanabe, who recently received a Provost's Undergraduate Research Award to study receptor clustering using the environmental scanning microscope and Fürster Resonance Energy Transfer. Watanabe recently completed training in ESEM use and is now the center's "resident expert," McCaffery said.
"You simply can't have a top-notch center without top-notch people, and we are fortunate that we have that, too," he states.
Color photos of the Integrated Imaging Center and its staff are available. Contact Lisa De Nike at LDE@jhu.edu or by calling 443-287-9960.
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