UNF-MSERF Houses State-of-the-Art TESCAN Biological Microscope for Cancer-Fighting Research

The University of North Florida Materials Science and Engineering Research Facility (MSERF) has partnered with TESCAN, a leading manufacturer of electron and light microscopes, in the installation of one of its new Q-Phase microscopes, a unique instrument for quantitative phase imaging based on holographic microscopy.

The Q-Phase microscope is a one-of-a-kind holographic microscope capable of imaging live cells for up to five days. Traditional light microscopy of cells requires staining and chemical treatments that capture the state of the cell in time but kills the cell in the process. This new technology allows cells to be imaged while living over the course of days.

"The partnership with TESCAN affords the University the ability to gather cutting-edge data from the latest high-tech equipment” said Dr. Paul Eason, UNF-MSERF director and associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction.

The agreement between the University and TESCAN provides UNF the opportunity to house brand new and unique microscopes for the purpose of instrument validation and demonstration for potential users. The Q-Phase microscope, housed at MSERF in the newly renovated Skinner-Jones Hall, is on the UNF campus for a 90-day trial installation.

Researchers both at UNF and the Mayo Clinic are taking advantage of the trial installation and utilizing the high-powered device in their respective studies of treating various types of cancer.

Mayo Clinic researchers are already gathering useful data from the instrument. Dr. Maarten Rotman, a post-doctoral researcher in the Mayo Neurosurgery Lab of Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, has been examining brain cancer cells.

We want to know why certain brain cancer cells spread out over the brain and resist chemotherapeutic treatment and what we can do to stop that,” he said. “Using the Q-Phase microscope, we’re analyzing with great clarity the effects of certain new treatments on the mobility and survival of brain cancer cells.

UNF biology researchers have also been accessing the device for exploration, at no cost for the duration of the trial installation. “We’re interested in examining the synergistic effect of saffron and conventional taxane therapy [a type of chemotherapy treatment used for various cancers] using breast and colon carcinoma cell lines,” said Dr. Fatima Khwaja Rehman, UNF biology lecturer.

The Q-Phase microscope might have its stay extended at UNF-MSERF, if there is an immense demand for further experiments and demonstrations. There are plans to perform further work with UNF researchers and Mayo Clinic as well as researchers from the University of Florida and Florida International University.

The UNF-MSERF is a multi-user electron microscopy and materials characterization center funded by the state legislature through the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Innovation initiative. MSERF was created in strategic partnership with TESCAN, Oxford Instruments and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.

For further information or questions, please contact Ann Chesbrough, Marketing Manager North America, TESCAN USA, Inc. at [email protected]

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