New state-of-art microscope helps medical research

The University of Aberdeen has just installed a new high specification Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) that will allow researchers to magnify samples up to one million times and also ‘see’ them in 3D.

Funding from the Wellcome Trust, and support from local charity the ARCHIE Foundation and the University’s Development Trust, has enabled the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences  to buy the new £300,000 TEM.

The TEM - the first JEM-1400 Plus model from Japanese company JEOL to be installed in the UK and Ireland - will help further medical research into a range of conditions including bone disorders such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and fungal diseases such as Candida infections.

Kevin Mackenzie, Microscopy and Histology Facility Manager at the Institute of Medical Sciences, said: “This new TEM has unique and advanced features that will enhance research at all levels.

“The microscope it replaces was over 25 years old and was only capable of magnifying images up to 100,000 times. Not only will the new microscope allow us to view images at much higher magnifications, but it will also allow us to produce detailed 3D images of cell ultrastructure.”

The research capabilities of the TEM have also prompted Arthritis Research UK to fund £64,000 worth of ancillary equipment for the preparation of samples and for complex image analysis.

Professor Miep Helfrich said: “The new microscope will be used by research groups at the Institute of Medical Sciences investigating a wide range of medical conditions. It will also be used by NHS clinicians for diagnostic purposes. It is a wonderful new piece of kit which will enable us to see things we have not been able to see before, and in incredible detail.”

Professor Stephen Logan, Senior Vice-Principal of the University of Aberdeen, will officially ‘launch’ the new microscope this morning.