UMaine scientists have developed a new way of looking at the molecular organization of cells by creating a microscope system they call FPALM (Fluorescence Photoactivation Localization Microscopy).
The microscopy system was invented to enable scientists to look at the molecular organization of cells by imaging samples labeled with a special kind of fluorescent marker. The FPALM microscopy system breaks a fundamental limit on the resolution of lens-based microscopes, known as the diffraction barrier, which has existed for more than 100 years.
While a normal microscope looks at all of the molecules at once, which can make the individual molecules difficult to see, FPALM uses photoactivatable dyes to identify individual molecules and separate them.
The recent extension of FPALM to include 3-D imaging and provide information about the orientation of single molecules will help address important biological questions.
Already, the ability to image living cells has helped UMaine scientists disprove several existing models of membrane organization.
The UMaine researchers, including Samuel Hess, a FPALM co-inventor, along with colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Maryland, published their findings in the journal Nature Methods.
Revolutionizing Climate Change Research
University of Maine researchers at the Laboratory for Surface Science and the Climate Change Institute are teaming up to create a sensor that will provide groundbreaking information in ice core research.
The William M. Keck Foundation has provided a $1.6 million grant to fund the continued research of the project, “Major Advances in the Field of Climate Change Reconstruction Using Ice Cores,” which will revolutionize climate science.
The project will build on UMaine’s ongoing research aimed at developing a global array of ice cores for use in studying historical climate change, in better understanding the Earth’s environment and in creating sound hypotheses related to the planet’s climate future.
Professor Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute, is the project leader. UMaine scientists have been involved in ice core research for decades. Their work, funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, involves the extraction of ice from polar regions around the world.
By examining the chemical composition at intervals along the ice core, scientists can reconstruct climate history over centuries and they can monitor current climate conditions in critical regions.
The project will allow researchers to accelerate their research and move toward establishing the complete and robust record necessary to gain a thorough understanding of the Earth’s climate history. Ice cores are the only means by which scientists can study climate history on a meaningful scale, looking at thousands of years of verifiable records, according to Mayewski.
UMaine scientists are expanding their research capabilities in two specific ways:
Some 13 UMaine academic personnel, representing CCI, LASST and several academic departments, will participate in the project.
Image Description: SamHess_026