With the generous support of a $1.2 million gift from the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, the world’s most powerful microscope is now up and running at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The JEOL transmission electron microscope, model JEM-ARM200F, will propel the development of new cancer therapies and disease treatments by allowing nanotechnology researchers to see samples magnified 20 million times their original size.
“We now have access to resolutions that will give us a tremendous scientific advantage to solve problems that need to be attacked,” said Miguel Yacaman, chair of the College of Sciences’ Department of Physics and Astronomy. “We’ll be able to watch nanoparticles behave one atom at a time. This is the Holy Grail for us.”
UTSA will house its new microscope in the Kleberg Advanced Microscopy Laboratory, a specially designed laboratory space on the Main Campus that inhibits intrusive vibrations. Its atomic resolution will propel world-class research in nanotechnology, biology, chemistry, geology, engineering and medicine. Yacaman’s team of researchers is already using the microscope to study how to develop optimally shaped nanoparticles that will be placed on a tumor and, using an infra-red laser, how to pinpoint and burn away the damaged cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells. UTSA is also using the microscope to study Alzheimer’s disease, to develop new materials and for other applications. The microscope will eventually be accessible to researchers around the world, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The ARM200F, nicknamed “Helenita” for Helen Groves, is the fourth UTSA microscope to be funded by the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation and the seventh addition to the university’s microscopy lab.
“The Board of the Kleberg Foundation is pleased to have been part of bringing this state of the art microscope to the wonderful state of Texas and UTSA to enable UTSA and its researchers to continue to advance their knowledge for the benefit of all of us in South Texas and beyond, and I’m honored to have the microscope named after me,” said Helen Groves, president of the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.