Scientists from across the country are in Bar Harbor, test driving the latest research tools.
The MDI Biological Laboratory is hosting a weeklong course, teaching students how to use powerful microscopes to advance their research.
Participants are seeing cells in a new light.
“It is amazing that we are able to visualize things that we were only in the past able to get a gleaning of,” said Jane Disney, Director of Education at the lab.
The MDI Biological Laboratory is hosting 25 students and science professionals this week as part of the research facility’s annual course in cutting edge microscopic research, otherwise known as Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy.
“The ability to visualize things on a smaller and smaller level allows us to identify new types of interactions biologically that we can design new drugs for,” said Adiv Johnson, Advanced Biosystems Specialist at Nikon Instruments.
Scientists use fluorescent labels to see sub-microscopic cellular components, even as small as a single molecule, through powerful microscopes.
Diego Zorio is research faculty at Florida State University, studying the protein causing fragile X syndrome.
“I was afraid of microscopes but just by being immersed in this very intense course, I think it put that aside,” said Zorio.
Vendors from a variety of tech companies are also on hand, giving students a chance to advance their research using sophisticated microscopes, some valued at nearly $500,000, with capabilities including dramatically increased resolution.
Colleen Mayberry is a UMaine grad student studying a virus causing kidney infections.
“I can see each individual expression representing each individual virus but back home I just see a haze of green because it is all blurred together,” said Mayberry.
The course is one of 30 offered throughout the year.
The lab is expanding, recently breaking ground on a new, $2.5 million building with 3,500 quare feet of lab space.
“So a broad range of individuals will come here, work with our scientists and learn the most up to date state of the art research techniques,” said Jeri Bowers, Director of Development and Public Affairs at the lab.
The building is set to open next spring.