Marshall receives grant for microscope
January 8, 2010 ·
Microscopes are used to look at tiny organisms, but the money it costs to purchase one isn’t so small. One Marshall University professor recently received $930,000 grant to purchase one for medical research.
The new microscope will be used in a variety of biological and biochemical fields. Michael Norton is a professor of biology at Marshall. He says the new microscope is a step up from the 13-year-old one the department has been using.
Josh Titlow is a graduate student studying neuroscience. He says he’s looking forward to working with the microscope.
“We’re fortunate to have the nice equipment for me,” said Titlow. “I feel fortunate and I’m pretty excited about learning and getting some nice images” .
Brian Antonsen is Titlow’s professor. He says the microscope will allow them to look closer at brain cells and how they function.
“It’s one of the best techniques we can use to figure out what’s going on biochemically in tissues.,” Antonsen said.
Norton took the lead in applying for the grant. It’s a two-photon microscope. This allows researchers to delve deeper into what is happening in the cells.
Norton says the microscope allows them to take pictures of things that have been almost invisible to them before.
“We start out with high energy light and it turns into low energy light, and the low energy light is what we see that makes the invisible visible,” Norton said.
What’s now visible are things like neurotransmitters that, with a closer look, researcher can learn how and why the brain transmits signals.
Norton says using the microscope will give Marshall students an advantage and he says it could also attract more students to Marshall’s summer programs.
“I think you can read about a facility or resource being available, but it’s really different if you have a friend tell you this is what I did and this is how easy or difficult this was to do it and this is what I got out of it. I think it’s going to do Marshall a lot of good in recruiting,” Norton said.
Norton says they hope to have the microscope by the end of the spring semester.