Microscopy plays an essential role in the study and treatment of diabetes pathogenesis. Rapidly evolving imaging technology with improved sensitivity and spatiotemporal resolution has created new opportunities to visualize and quantify cellular function and dysfunction in living cells and animals. At the same time the costs of this increasingly sophisticated equipment are significant, and few laboratories have the expertise to efficiently use and maintain this equipment. To address the gap between the availability of these powerful tools and ability to use them efficiently, the Advanced Microscopy Core will provide an integrated approach for investigators to investigate the structure, function, and dynamics of diabetes-susceptible cells and tissues. Core personnel will expand the ability of investigators to apply wide-field, confocal, lightsheet, TIRF, super-resolution, and multi-photon imaging including intravital microscopy (IVM) to the study of diabetes mellitus.
The primary objective of the Advanced Microscopy Core is to equip laboratories, whether they are new to fluorescence microscopy or experts in the field, with sufficient technical support to access the state-of-the-art imaging resources available at each campus. Under the leadership of Dr. Merrins, the core will not only provide cost-effective routine imaging services but grow the palate of live-cell imaging techniques available by validating biosensor assays of cell function and expand their use into difficult sample preparations such as human pancreatic slices. Under the leadership of the Associate Director, Barak Blum, PhD, the core will address a critical gap for WDRC investigators, by providing a robust pipeline for IVM of the mouse pancreas and transplanted islets. Incentives will also be provided at all levels of user expertise, including a mechanism for training, to attract new investigators into diabetes research. By providing these services, the Microscopy Core will accelerate the pace, expand the breadth, and improve the efficiency of diabetes research. This core is under development but we have provided links below for resources on campus for many of our key partners.