Highly Visible with Zeiss


by Maggie Hedlund ‘09

Wonder how proteins work in our cells to give them energy?

Want to see how the cells that make up our organs look while they’re at work?

Want to see 3D images of tissue samples?

Want to study living single-cell organisms?

All of these are possible for Gustavus students using a state-of-the-art Zeiss LSM 700 laser (scanning) confocal microscope.

Gustavus is the first liberal arts college in the nation to receive this model of the Zeiss scope, which was made possible with funding from the College and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant.

This microscope—complete with four lasers, three detectors, highly sensitive optics, and a connected computer with specialized software—has the ability to view the shape and location of certain structures in the cell and quantify dynamic processes in living cells.

The images of the cells and their structures can be looked at with awesome spatial and sequential resolution and even in 3-D.

So Gustavus students see phenomenal up-close-and-personal views of various tissue and cell samples. They get to look far beyond a textbook to see how molecular and cellular biology works.

The students prepare their own samples and run the microscope and the computer software. It’s all about undergraduates here at Gustavus, so there’s no need to compete with graduate students for time and equipment access.

“It opens up entirely new avenues for research projects, both collaborative and interdisciplinary, and it’s already being put to good use by students and faculty,” says Jeff Dahlseid, associate professor of biology and chemistry at Gustavus.

Seeing is believing. Want to see the Zeiss in action? Want to meet some students and faculty members who are using this confocal microscope? Watch the video.

You saw, now you should conquer. To learn more about research with the Zeiss or being a biology major at Gustavus, contact Jeff Dahlseid at dahlseid@gustavus.edu. If you think the Zeiss is cool, check out some of Gustavus’s other scientific instrumentation online.