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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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Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

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