Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

$171k grant boosts laser scanning confocal microscope program

Students and faculty using Willamette University’s new imaging facility are about to benefit from a $171,000 General Scientific Research Grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

The money will be spent on enhancements to the facility’s laser scanning confocal microscope, which will be used to improve research opportunities for students and staff at Willamette and neighboring colleges. The imaging equipment is expected to arrive this winter and was purchased through a $526,788 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Assistant Physics Professor David Altman says components purchased through the new grant will allow for more effective and efficient use of the already powerful microscope.

“This is a remarkable system to have at Willamette,” he says, adding that it will help in his own work studying cell’s molecular motors. “In my lab, we will focus on motor transport in cells found in the retina, and this work could have implications for our understanding disorders that result in visual degeneration.”