New Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy supports world-class research

Two men wearing masks looking at a computer in a lab setting.

Jose Moran-Mirabal, left, scientific director of the new Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy, works with facility manager Joao Pedro Bronze de Firmino.(Faculty of Science photo)

The newest core research facility in the Faculty of Science brings high-end scientific workhorses together under one roof for faculty and students.

The McMaster Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy, located beside the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy in the Arthur N. Bourns Building, gives researchers ready, reliable and affordable access to the newest technologies and techniques in light microscopy, photo-patterning and light-assisted 3D printing.

“Microscopes are essential tools for researchers,” says Jose Moran-Mirabal, scientific director of CALM and Canada Research Chair in Micro- and Nanostructured Materials.

“CALM provides both the equipment and the expertise that underpin world-class research.”

Microscopes are heavily used by more than 50 research groups at McMaster. While indispensable, they can be prohibitively expensive for individual groups to buy, maintain, upgrade and repair. CALM eliminates that cost and offers researchers use of some of the best microscopes on the market.

Among the seven microscopes currently available to faculty and students are Nikon’s newest inverted confocal and upright confocal microscopes, and structured illumination microscopy.

There are plans for CALM to have 20 microscopes within the next five years, Moran-Mirabal says.

Facility manager Joao Pedro Bronze de Firmino, who came to McMaster from the University of Toronto, where he ran a similar centre, provides on-site training and technical support to faculty and students.

Along with supporting world-class research, CALM will play a key role in teaching and training the next generation of researchers and serve as a catalyst for collaboration, saysMoran-Mirabal.

“McMaster is the only university in Canada to have centres with full capabilities for light and electron microscopy located next to each other,” he says. “New partnerships are inevitable whenever you bring researchers together.”

CALM is a joint initiative of the faculties of Science, Engineering and Health Sciences, with support from the Provost’s Office. Moran-Mirabal, together with co-founders Ray Truant from Health Sciences and Qiyin Fang from Engineering, serves on a leadership group with Juliet Daniel, Associate Dean, Research & External Relations with the Faculty of Science, Jonathan Bramson, Vice-Dean, Research with the Faculty of Health Sciences, and John Preston, Associate Dean, Research with the Faculty of Engineering.

CALM is also establishing user outreach and equity and inclusion working groups to stay responsive to the needs of faculty and students.

CALM is one of four core research facilities in the Faculty of Science, which also includes the McMaster Regional Centre for Mass Spectrometry, the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility and the McMaster Analytical X-Ray Diffraction Facility.

Contact CALM to book a tour, request a quote or request more information.

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