The Microscopy Facility is student-centered: not only are independent research students its primary users, numerous courses use the equipment in the facility (2035) and in its neighboring classroom (2033). The Facility also hosts middle-school and high-school classes for microscopy learning experiences.

Links to online references and learning resources.

Integrated digital classroom (2033)

  • 8 phase contrast, 8 DIC, and 16 stereoscopes, all with digital cameras
  • All computer stations integrated with instructor station for screen sharing

Courses: Animal Development (BIO316), Immunology (BIO343), Medical Parasitology (BIO420), Biology and Art (BIO426), Light Microscopy (BIO432/532), Human Histology (BIO482)

BIO 432/532: Light Microscopy

This course covers the principles behind light microscopy, from the properties of light to the latest technologies in microscopy. Students will get hands-on experience with the different kinds of microscopes, including the confocal microscope. The course also covers fluorescent probes, advanced fluorescence techniques, digital imaging, methods of quantification and figure preparation for publication, with an emphasis on biological applications. Offered in the fall.

Light Microscopy Course Photoblog: Each week during the class the students bring in an object – it can be anything – and take a picture of it through a microscope, then post it to the class photoblog. As we make our way through the semester, they learn new techniques, which start to pop up in the posts. At the end of semester, faculty in the department vote for their favorite image in our annual “Small Wonder” competition.

Middle-/High-School Outreach Events

All outreach events are coordinated through the College of Science and Math's Center for STEM Education and Outreach. Please contact the center to set-up an event.

Outreach Activity Description: Despite learning about biomolecules, organelles, and cells, students often have trouble forming an integrated mental image of how these microscopic entities relate to and interact with each other. This problem manifests, in part, in difficulties comparing the relative sizes of biological objects (e.g. a bacterium vs. a eukaryotic nucleus; a protein vs. a water molecule). This is entirely understandable in that these objects exist on a size scale much smaller than we experience on a daily basis and are therefore as difficult to conceptualize as, e.g., the distance from the earth to the sun. Microscopes offer a window into this world and can help students start to build a framework for how life works at the microscale. In our outreach activities, students will investigate and develop an understanding of the sizes of biological objects and the levels of structural organization at the microscale. Students will develop hypotheses about the relative sizes of certain biological objects based on their prior knowledge and then test their hypotheses using compound microscopes. Our microscopes are especially suited for this kind of activity because they have digital cameras that allow live images to be displayed on a computer screen. This allows everyone in the group to see the microscope image simultaneously and also allows students to take images.

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