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Superresolution Microscopy at UC Berkeley

ZEISS ELYRA PS.1 with 3D-PALM Supports Researchers at UC Berkeley

From now on, scientists of the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at the University of California, Berkeley are using the ZEISS superresolution microscope ELYRA PS.1 for their research. The microscope system was purchased with a National Institutes of Health grant and is dedicated for the study of natural resources and the environment. Research fields of the college include environmental and agricultural economics, geographic information systems, microbial biology, natural resource management or plant genetics and biology.

The Biological Imaging Facility, where the microscope will be located, serves thousands of faculty, students and staff. "This new microscope will enable researchers to see objects that are impossible to see using technology available at Berkeley today," says Steve Ruzin, director of the Biological Imaging Facility.
Arash Komeili’s lab in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology is one of the many labs on campus that will benefit from the new ZEISS instrument. The Komeili group studies magnetosomes, bacterial organelles 50-70 nm in diameter that control the formation of magnetic nanoparticles. Due to their small size and tight arrangement within the cell, conventional fluorescence microscopy cannot distinguish between individual magnetosomes. “We anticipate that the improved resolution of the structured illumination microscope will allow us to study the dynamics of specific proteins at the individual magnetosome level,” Komeili says.

With ZEISS ELYRA P.1 and 3D-PALM, researchers can capture highly resolved structures in 3D using photo-switchable proteins, while treating the sample so gently it stays fit for long-term observation. Detection with an effective resolution down to 20 nm shows substructures and patterns where conventional light microscopy will simply show co-localization. Last month, the microscope system has been selected by the expert judges and editors of R&D Magazine as a recipient of a 2014 R&D 100 Award.