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UCSC Gets Up Close and Personal With Microscopes

biological_microscopeSLUG REPORT > From vast outer space to the smallest components in the human body, researchers at UC Santa Cruz are striving to see life on a closer level. Thanks to a $1 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation, they are nearing their goal.

The grant will go towards a new Center for Adaptive Optical Microscopy, in which scientists will use technology generally used by astronomers to build better microscopes for seeing deep within human tissue, so that they can learn more about biology and disease.

Co-investigator William Sullivan, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UCSC, explained how the advancements could be helpful in making insights more clear.

"We can get beautiful images of cells close to the surface of the tissue, but if you want to go deep you're out of luck because of the degradation of the image. That was the motivation for this project," he said in a July 26 press release from UCSC. "For cell biologists, anything that improves imaging is a big deal, and this has the potential to open up vast areas of cell biology that have been opaque to us."

This branch of microscopy is called adaptive optics (AO), and was founded at UCSC in 2006 by a group of biologists, astronomers, and optical engineers working together across their different disciplines. Sullivan noted that such advancement was somewhat unique to UCSC’s way of doing things.

"This is the kind of project that UCSC does really well,” he said in the press release. “I couldn't have done this at a medical school, because they don't have astronomers and engineers next door.”

 

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The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

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Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

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