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Beckman Foundation to Fund Light Sheet Microscopy

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The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation will invest $9.6 million in advanced light sheet microscopes and data science across eight institutions selected through a competitive application process.

The foundation will provide funding for the winning research teams in the spring. Funding will go toward installing state-of-the-art advanced light sheet microscopes and establishing robust interdisciplinary teams for data science collaborations. Applicants for funding were required to propose a close integration of data processing, storage, and data science expertise.

In its own release, the University of Rochester announced a multidisciplinary collaboration among the university’s departments of biology, biomedical engineering, and optics, and the Goergen Institute for Data Science. Michael Welte, professor and chair of Rochester’s department of biology, will serve as principal investigator of the project, which is to be fueled by a $1.2 million grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

The University of Rochester said it will use the funding to build a novel light sheet microscope employing freeform optical designs developed at the university. The microscope will be housed in a shared imaging facility in Goergen Hall and is expected to be operational by 2022. The device will enable 3D imaging of complex cellular structures in living samples.

Morgridge Institute for Research also released details of the funding, announcing that Jan Huisken and Kevin Eliceiri will lead an effort to develop a light sheet microscope technology with a $1.2 million grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The institute intends to create a “smart microscope” that will be able to determine what to image and when to image, and to process the data in a meaningful way, Huisken said.

The institute’s team will collaborate with several investigators at the University of Wisconsin Madison, including professor Vikas Singh of the university’s biostatistics and computer science departments, in order to develop the algorithms and machine learning components of the proposed device.

“The foundation is eager to support advanced light sheet initiatives at these institutions and increase access to these emerging instruments to scientists at a range of career stages,” said Anne Hultgren, executive director of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

The winning research teams are from a variety of institutions spanning large research universities at The Rockefeller University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Rochester, and Washington University in St. Louis; primarily undergraduate institutions at Reed College and Smith College; and research institutes at Marine Biological Laboratory and Morgridge Institute for Research.

Photonics Spectra
May 2021
BusinessMicroscopylight-sheet microscopyfundinggrantgrant applicationsgrant fundinggrantsArnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation3D imagingBiophotonicsRockefeller UniversityUniversity of ColoradoUniversity of Colorado at BoulderUniversity of Colorado BoulderUniversity of RochesterWashington UniversityReed CollegeSmith CollegeMarine Biological LaboratoryMorgridge Institute for Researchlight speed

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