UNF Researchers Utilizing Instrument in Cancer-Fighting Studies
The University of North Florida Materials Science and Engineering Research Facility (MSERF) has partnered with TESCAN, a leading manufacturer of electron and light microscopes, in the installation of one of its new Q-Phase microscopes, a unique instrument for quantitative phase imaging based on holographic microscopy.
The Q-Phase microscope is a first-of-its-kind holographic microscope capable of imaging live cells for up to five days. Traditional light microscopy of cells requires staining and chemical treatments that capture the state of the cell in time but kills the cell in the process. This new technology allows cells to be imaged while living over the course of days.
“The partnership with TESCAN affords the University the ability to gather cutting-edge data from the latest high-tech equipment” said Dr. Paul Eason, UNF-MSERF director and associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction.
The agreement between the University and TESCAN provides UNF the opportunity to obtain new and unique microscopes for the purpose of instrument validation and demonstration for potential users. The Q-Phase microscope, located in MSERF in the newly renovated Skinner-Jones Hall, is on the UNF campus for a 90-day demonstration period.
Researchers both at UNF and the Mayo Clinic are taking advantage of the trial installation and utilizing the state-of-the-art device in their respective studies of treating various types of cancer. Dr. Albina Mikhaylova, MSERF assistant director, is coordinating all research on the microscope and serving as the instrument’s chief operator.
Mayo Clinic researchers are already gathering useful data from the instrument. Dr. Maarten Rotman, a post-doctoral researcher in the Mayo Neurosurgery Lab of Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, has been examining brain cancer cells.
“We want to know why certain brain cancer cells spread out over the brain and resist chemotherapeutic treatment and what we can do to stop that,” he said. “Using the Q-Phase microscope, we’re analyzing with great clarity the effects of certain new treatments on the mobility and survival of brain cancer cells.”
UNF biology researchers have also been using the Q-Phase microscope. “We’re interested in examining the synergistic effect of saffron and conventional taxane therapy [a type of chemotherapy treatment used for various cancers] using breast and colon carcinoma cell lines,” said Dr. Fatima Khwaja Rehman, UNF biology lecturer.
There are plans to perform further work with UNF researchers and Mayo Clinic as well as researchers from the University of Florida and Florida International University. TESCAN may extend the 90-day installation period, given the high volume of demand for the instrument’s use on the UNF campus.
Founded in 1991 by a group of managers and engineers from Tesla with its electron microscopy history starting in the 1950’s, today TESCAN is a globally renowned supplier of focused ion beam workstations, scanning electron microscopes and optical microscopes. TESCAN’s innovative solutions and collaborative nature with its customers have won it a leading position in the world of Nano- and micro-technology. The company is proud to participate in premier research projects with prominent institutions across a range of scientific fields
The UNF-MSERF is a multi-user electron microscopy and materials characterization center funded by the state legislature through the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Innovation initiative. MSERF was created in strategic partnership with TESCAN, Oxford Instruments and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.