Fast-scanning 3-D microscope coming to campus

High-tech imaging to bring students to the forefront of modern scientific research


A new high-tech microscope with fast-scanning 3-D imaging capabilities will open new and advanced avenues of research for science students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“The acquisition of a confocal laser scanning microscope enables multiple faculty and students in materials science, chemistry and biology to conduct forefront research that is more challenging and stimulating than is possible with our current technology,” said Dr. Elizabeth Glogowski, assistant professor of materials science.

The key feature of the CLSM is its ability to produce high-resolution images of thick specimens at various depths in 3-D. Images are taken point-by-point and reconstructed with a computer, rather than projected through an eyepiece.

The CLSM will significantly expand fluorescent microscopy at the university, which uses a higher intensity light source to construct images, and will introduce a fast-scanning, high-resolution 3-D imaging capability that is absent from existing instruments. This microscope will create new cutting-edge research experiences for students, preparing them for emerging careers in science and making them highly competitive candidates for graduate school, Glogowski said.

Dr. Elizabeth Glogowski, assistant professor of materials science

The Materials Science Center received funding for the CLSM through a $460,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation program, which is designed to increase access to shared instrumentation for research and research training in science and engineering within research-intensive learning environments. The addition of the CLSM to the already extensive list of equipment and instrumentation currently used in the center, provides students with opportunities to gain working knowledge of industry-related technology in materials science, chemistry, biology and physics.

As the UW System Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research Collaboration, UW-Eau Claire has always had a strong history of providing undergraduates with high-impact educational experiences through student research.

“The CLSM will be used to expand student access to even greater research opportunities and will be an integral part in supporting undergraduate research in ongoing and future programs,” Glogowski said.
Dr. Michael Carney works with a chemistry student during a hands-on lab experiment.

The microscope will be used in teaching upper-level undergraduate lab courses, which will provide a unique experience not available at most undergraduate universities. It also will enhance the existing outreach efforts to connect the community and K-12 students with scientific principles and research, and provides a unique opportunity for local industries that use the Materials Science Center’s research instrumentation in their research and development efforts.

The multidisciplinary grant proposal was written and submitted by Glogowski; Dr. Derek Gingerich, an associate professor of biology; Jamie Lyman Gingerich, an assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Matt Jewell, an assistant professor in materials science, who also mentor students and involve them in research in their respective fields.

The CLSM will arrive on campus within the academic year and will be available for use beginning in summer 2015. For more information about the confocal laser scanning microscope, contact Dr. Liz Glogowski at 715–836–3445 or glogowem@uwec.edu.

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