Queen's University

New equipment bolsters QCRI Imaging and Technical Services

Queen's Cancer Research Institute imaging specialist Jeff Mewburn explains the new WaveFX spinning disk confocal microscope. The equipment will allow researchers to acquire data much faster than older confocal microscopes. 

Jeff Mewburn can’t hide his excitement when he introduces Imaging and Technical Services’ newest piece of equipment.

“The WaveFX spinning disk confocal microscope is probably the most versatile microscope platform designed for research,” says Mr. Mewburn, Queen’s Cancer Research Institute imaging specialist. “It’s quite an incredible instrument.”

Imaging and Technical Services, located within the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, put the microscope on its wish list several years ago. Thanks to Dr. Jeremy Squire, the equipment is here, up and running, helping researchers acquire data much faster than with older confocal microscopes.

“This instrument will allow researchers to capture membrane trafficking, nuclear components, and cytoplasm structures simultaneously in living cells” Mr. Mewburn says.

With the spinning disk confocal microscope, researchers will be able to keep cells alive for 72 hours to observe how they behave. The new equipment can also perform the functions of an intravital microscope for studies in live tissue and organs.

The facility is using the buzz around the new microscope to promote all of its services to the Queen’s research community.

The unit was established in 1998 offering flow cytometry services that help researchers determine what is happening in cell populations. A machine passes cells in a stream through a laser beam that excites markers placed on the cells. The equipment also sorts cells quickly, which helps speed up the research process.

A confocal microscope was acquired in 2002 allowing researchers to look at small structures within cells, and an intravital microscope was added in 2003. The department also has a special ultrasound machine designed for small specimens.

The trio also offers specialized technical services such as tumor cell engraftments and advanced surgical methods. The team of Mr. Mewburn, facility manager Matt Gordon and facility technician Jalna Meens also supports researchers should they encounter any problems in the lab.

“We’re quite proud that we can look at everything from a sub-cellular component to a full animal model,” Mr. Gordon says. “There are not many facilities around that cover quite that micro to macro range.”

The entire Queen’s research community can access these services. The website has more information, and Mr. Mewburn can be contacted by email or by phone at (613) 533-3221.

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Last updated at 4:16 pm EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
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