Taking SIM by STORM

Lexey Odgers

Burnet Cell Imaging Facility has a new dual function super-resolution microscope.

First published: 11/12/2013

Updated at: 29/01/2014 at 10:47 am

Burnet’s Cell Imaging Facility has a new dual function super-resolution microscope – the Nikon N-SIM & N-STORM.

The new super-resolution microscope housed in the facility’s PC2 containment, can produce images with up to ten times more resolution than previously, allowing researchers to determine the exact positions of single molecules.

“Previously I would have to go up to NSW to be able to use super-resolution microscopy for research,”  Dr Candida da Fonseca Pereira, Head of Burnet’s Cell Imaging Facility said.

“Obtaining the microscope was made possible thanks to the generosity of more than 800 donors who gave to the Burnet Institute.

“Now researchers in Melbourne will be able to better understand the molecular mechanisms of a range of diseases including malaria, tuberculosis HIV and AIDS, influenza, hepatitis C, heart disease, diabetes and cancer,” she said.

“Our services are also available to external researchers and are already being used by colleagues from other institutions at the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct (AMREP).

“The new the Nikon N-SIM & N-STORM is a very versatile state-of-the-art fluorescence microscope because it combines  both technologies to achieve the best possible resolution.

“Conventional optical microscopes cannot resolve structures that are smaller 200 nanometres but most of the structures we are interested in are smaller than that (e.g. HIV is 125nm in diameter). Using high frequency patterned illumination, the Nikon Structured Illumination Microscopy (N-SIM), can achieve image resolution of 85 nanometres. The other capability– the N-STORM (or Nikon Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy) can achieve an image resolution of 20 nanometres.

“With it we can label multiple proteins with fluorescent antibodies and using powerful software we can establish how many there are and where they are gathered.” Candida said.

For more information see the Burnet Cell Imaging Facility profile at the VPTN or  visit the Burnet Cell Imaging Facility webpage.

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