The confocal microscope focuses a single plane of light through a biological substance, allowing high resolution, three-dimensional images to be built up. The instrument is especially useful for studies of thick specimens such as tissues, organs, and even organisms, and provides 3-D projections as well as images of individual planes of samples. It is used extensively in neurobiology and cell biology.
An imaging system comprising a Bio-Rad confocal system (1000) attached to a Nikon Optiphot microscope serves as a core facility in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. It offers the ability to image up to two fluorophores simultaneously as well as software for three-dimensional reconstruction, stereoscopic display of three-dimensional images, time-lapse imaging, ratio imaging, photobleaching, quantifying co-localization and morphometry. The system is suitable for excitation of common wave length fluorochrome dyes, such as fluororescein, rhodamine, Texas red and propidium iodide.
Data can be transferred from the facility via Iomega zip disk. Data storage is accomplished using zip and optical density disks. The system is point-scan as opposed to slit-scan for higher spatial resolution and has independent variable aperture adjustments and a line scan mode.
Scientists here are using the confocal microscope to study a variety of phenomena ranging from calcium concentration transients and cytoskeletal modifications at the intracellular level, to neuronal connectivity and morphogenetic movements in the intracellular matrix at the supracellular level and cardiac muscle physiology.
This facility is widely used by faculty and students from many disciplines. Instruction on use of the confocal microscope system is available.
Sansar C. Sharma, Ph.D.
Professor of Ophthalmology and of
Cell Biology and Anatomy
New York Medical College
Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy
Basic Sciences Building
Valhalla, NY 10595