Confocal laser scanning model LSM 980 Flim and Elyra 7 LS for superior accuracy. This is the name of the microscope that the National University of Rosario will install in the School of Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences from Equipar Ciencia funding, with which the National Ministry of Science and Technology has announced the largest investment of strategic equipment in history. The device, which will soon be made available in Rosario, will be made available to many academic units and society as a whole at a cost of $1,152,500.
The acquisition of the microscope, the most expensive equipment made available by the Santa Fe program and one of the most valuable in the entire country, was made possible thanks to work done at the United Nations to order, based on a consensus among four colleges and the debate over its strategic importance to the region.
The application for the microscope for the federal Equipar Ciencia program, which was selected last, was coordinated by Dr. Julia Kriko, from Science, Technology and Innovation for Development at the United Nations. With her biochemistry deans, Andrés Sciara, from medicine, Jorge Molinas, and from dentistry, Gabriela Pisterna. In addition, the application is approved by the authorities and teachers of other units, such as agricultural sciences.
In Fundamentals of Access to Funding for Expensive Equipment, the UN emphasized that “the teaching and research of biological processes have received indisputable support through the development, improvement and popularization of techniques based on fluorescence microscopy” such as those that allow state-of-the-art confocal microscopy. “These techniques allow cellular location and quantification of the presence of biological molecules in preparations or living tissues by excitation and recovery of the fluorescent emission of fluorescent molecules,” adds the text, which had to comply with stringent requirements set by the ministry to justify the required investments.
As just an example, a laser scanning microscope makes it possible to see molecules inside cells, which is only possible with this cutting-edge technology and a possibility not yet available in the region. However, the equipment will be available to scientific entities across the country, as it will be registered with the National Microscopy System (SNM) and must follow its regulations governing, among other things, access to its use.
Confocal microscopy is a technology that allows observations with higher resolution, contrast and clarity than can be achieved with conventional optical microscopy, which has allowed major advances in disciplines such as biology, medicine or the study of materials.
The principle of confocal microscopy is based on the fact that a laser of a certain wavelength applied to the sample causes the excited particles to shine with a wavelength greater than the applied wavelength, which also cancels out the reflected or fluorescent light coming from the planes.
The laser is applied in a point-by-point scanning manner in a small part of the sample, which allows to obtain images of different focal planes that enable three-dimensional analysis of the structures. It allows, by combining lasers of different wavelengths, the detailed study of cellular morphology and function, the dynamics of movement of proteins and organelles, all of which is impossible with conventional microscopy.
With this, the physiological, pathological and toxicological mechanisms of various animal and plant organisms can be determined. In addition, the equipment to be installed at the UN is of the latest generation in the same technology. The university has one, the Nikon C1 +, but it was already outdated in its lifespan, and production ceased in 2008. With the new super-resolution, equipment will be available that will provide hitherto unimaginable technological and impact services.
Promoting science in Rosario
At the same time, it will be a contribution that will enhance the human capabilities that Rosario must use. Not only at the United Nations, but also in institutes with dual affiliation with Conicet, such as the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Immunology of Rosario (Idicer), the Center for the Studies of Photosynthesis and Biochemistry (Cefobi), that of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBR) and Experimental Physiology ( Ifise), physics (Ifir) and research in agricultural sciences (Iicar). In each of them there are many professors and researchers whose projects have been developed based on the use of confocal microscopy.
The largest investment in scientific equipment in Argentine history, of about 60 national scientific and technological institutions in the country, was announced this week in the dormitory of the National University of Buenos Aires.
This action was led by the nation’s Chief of Staff, Juan Mansur, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Daniel Velmos, his in-country counterpart, Edo de Pedro, and the President of Conicet, Ana Franchi, among other authorities. The total funding awarded is 7,800 million pesos for the acquisition of 167 medium and large equipment, under the Federal Program for Equipping Science for Institutions across the country.
In Rosario, a mass spectrometer order was also selected by the local Conicet Scientific and Technological Center, valued at $670,000. In the province, the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, based in the capital, will be able to rely on the X-ray machine that costs $589,720.