Keck Foundation awards $750,000 grant to Northeastern University to fund 3D fusion microscope

BOSTON, Mass. -- Northeastern University in Boston has been awarded a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles, California to fund the building of a 3D Fusion Microscope (3DFM). Northeastern Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Chuck DiMarzio, Matthews Distinguished Professor of Biology Carol Warner, and Professor of Biology Donald O'Malley led the team that won the $750,000 2-year grant.

The Keck 3D Fusion Microscope will allow three-dimensional imaging of biological specimens on a single platform using five different cutting-edge imaging technologies. These include novel imaging technologies being developed at Northeastern under the auspices of CenSSIS, the Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) - one of 19 in the country [see www.censsis.neu.edu]. Two initial biological applications of the Keck 3D Fusion Microscope will focus on the key developmental processes that occur in vertebrate animals.

The long-range goal is to develop a new paradigm of three-dimensional biological imaging by borrowing from the engineering community and CenSSIS the techniques of inverse scattering, image processing, three-dimensional imaging and visualization. These imaging data sets will be combined with new advances in genetics and DNA sequencing to give a more complete picture of physiological changes that occur during the process of growth and differentiation. This instrument will support a potentially wide-range of future applications. For example, the Keck 3DFM may prove helpful in efforts to distinguish normal from cancerous cells.

Dr. Carol Warner's group will be examining embryo viability, an issue of critical importance for couples undergoing treatment for infertility. Since the first baby conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF) was born in 1978, about one million IVF babies have been born. However, this represents only about a 25% success rate. A m

Contact: Emily Donahue
Northeastern University

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