The PMI is prominent in technological and methodological development, especially in advanced light microscopy, structural spectroscopy, force spectroscopy, nanotechnology, and biochemical kinetics. Additionally, the PMI offers unique muscle assessment technologies to our members.
The PMI has assembled a unique combination of microscopes for single-molecule-imaging and single-molecule-force measurements. Secured through funding from the NSF, NIH, NIST, University Research Foundation and PSOM, these state-of-the-art instruments are being used to address important biological questions, using purified macromolecules and in live cells. The instruments are only the starting point, as PMI investigators develop novel imaging technologies that will greatly impact future research and funding. Available directly to the Penn community are:
1) Optical tweezers instruments for the measurement of nanometer-scale displacements and picoNewton-scale forces, both used for measuring biological forces and manipulating objects in vitro and in the cytoplasm of live cells.
2) A Bruker Catalyst Atomic-Force-Microscope (AFM) for measuring nanoNewton-scale forces, and for imaging microfabricated surfaces.
3) Harrick tabletop plasma cleaner and vacuum for surface cleaning and preparation.
The laboratories of PMI members also develop and utilize advanced technologies for measuring macromolecule dynamics and localization that may be accessed via collaboration. Unique multiwavelength total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopes provide millisecond-scale temporal and nanometer-scale spatial resolution of fluorescent molecules (e.g., GFP-proteins & quantum dots) in vitro and in vivo. In addition, polarization optics allow conformational changes to be observed in single molecules.
For more information on our Advanced Optical and Force Microscopy services please contact us.