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UNLV Confocal and Biological Imaging Core

The first UNLV Imaging Center was established in 1999 through an NSF EPSCoR award. It became part of the Nevada BRIN technology core network in 2003 and then a component of INBRE. The INBRE equipment was retired in 2012, but the CBI core remains committed to providing access to confocal microscopy for all Nevada researchers. The central piece of equipment in this multi-user facility is a state-of-the-art Nikon A1R confocal laser scanning microscopy system (CLSM) with a resonance scanner for high-speed imaging of living samples and spectral unmixing for advanced applications. This system is mounted on a Nikon Eclipse Ti body equipped with advanced CLSM imaging resonance scanner, for rapid acquisition of images from living samples. Two additional digital imaging systems are available for epifluorescence and other types of light microscopy: a high resolution charge-coupled device (CCD) and a highly sensitive electron-multiplying CCD (EMCCD). Acquired images are compatible with the powerful, open-source FIJI image processing software.

The core operates both as a shared instrument facility and re-charge center. Users receive training from our technician and must demonstrate proficiency with the CLSM before receiving access to the facility (passwords, computer accounts, keys). A web-based reservation program is used to schedule time in the Imaging Core. User fees will be implemented in October, 2012.

CLSM has revolutionized our ability to investigate complex biological processes with light microscopy. These capabilities have vastly broadened the scope of questions being addressed in biological systems to the extent that CLSM has become a basic tool for the advancement of research. The Confocal and Biological Imaging Core is having a profound impact on infrastructure and enhancing our ability to develop innovative and timely research products. It has also strengthened our faculty recruitment and our training of postdoctoral associates, and graduate and undergraduate students, improving their competitive ability and maturation as scientists. We currently have users from research groups in the UNLV College of Engineering, College of Sciences, and College of Liberal Arts.