The problem:The Department of Eye and Vision Science was urgently in need of a powerful microscope to watch the growth of stem cells on artificial substrates for several research projects.
Our solution:Our Stem Cell Appeal funded the purchase of a Nikon Ti-E inverted microscope.
Impact: The microscope has been used to ask a variety of research questions. For example, the live imaging capabilities which are used to track the closure of corneal scratch wounds in real time. This is essential when testing a new drug that might aid wound repair or when investigating a new protein that might be involved in the healing process. The microscope can also go deeper, allowing the team to colour code different proteins to investigate where it is, how it changes, how it relates to other proteins, and how all those things change after drug treatments.
The microscope is a crucial part of our work on developing stem cell treatments for a number of eye diseases. It allows us to assess how the stem cells are behaving when grown in the laboratory, which gives an indication of how they might perform when implanted into an eye. It’s also been instrumental in the development of projects which have since gone on to attract external funds, like our retinal regeneration project.
The purchase of this microscope probably wouldn’t have been possible without St Paul's Research Foundation. We’ve pinpointed and tested novel therapies which has helped us to bring external funds into the department, so it's been an excellent investment.