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Research in the EM Facility - Academic Year 2006/2007

(Academic Year 2007/2008)

There are several students in various fields of study who are currently engaged in research projects that utilize the Electron Microscopy Facility. They are:

Engineering - Nanowires & Atomic Lattice Imaging -

Crocidolite asbestos (TEM)
Ankit Saraf (2010)
A project utilizing the Philips/FEI CM12 TEM/(S)TEM is underway to study nanowires grown in the Engineering Dept. at Yale U., in conjunction with Southern Connecticut State University and the MRSEC (Materials Research in Science and Engineering Center) recently established between the two entities and Brookhaven National Lab. The CM12's analytical capabilities enable surveys of the nanowires' overall structure and ultimately, using x-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy, identification and mapping of the elements that comprise them. Ankit Saraf (2010) is learning to use the TEM at its highest level.

Biology - Viviparous Reptiles (2 projects)

Pupal Drosophila wing (LM)
Greg Gavelis (2008)
The Reichert Ultracut E ultramicrotome enabled semi-thin and thin-sectioning of developing wing tissues from Drosophila pupae during Spring 2006 with Prof. Fleming. Currently, with Prof. Blackburn, Greg Gavelis (2008) is using it to prepare slides for optimal light microscopy of placenta from a viviparous reptile, to characterise tissue morphology during the development of the fetus within the female. Ultimately, this project will be taken to the TEM to study the structural and functional relationships of these tissues at the ultrastructural level. Greg began using the EM Facility as a freshman in the Interdisciplinary Science Program, and has progressed to routine use of the ultramicrotomes, a diamond knife, and the TEM.
Embryonic snake
Siobhan Knight (2007)
The SEM is enabling the elucidation of structures that arise during development of the fetus in the viviparous corn snake, Elaphe. This system is under investigation by Siobhan Knight (2007), who took the SEM course and who is now studying with Prof. Blackburn. She has also devised a way to prepare and examine the inner surfaces of the eggs. Her work will further illuminate the developmental characteristics of these reptiles, and the relationships between maternal and fetal tissues.

Environmental Science - The Diet of Birds

Hair from fox
Bridget Johnston (2009)
The SEM enables comparisions in the morphologies of hair/fur from various sources, such as fox, cow, and others. The goal is to characterize these hairs to see if markers can be identified such that scat from birds can be examined and the source of the hair in the scat identified, to learn more about the diet and habits of the birds. Using materials collected by Prof. Joan Morrison, Bridget Johnston (2009) is cataloging images from 23 animals and preparing a database to compare their characteristics, such as dimensions, morphology, and number of scales per unit length. In turn, hairs of unknown origin will be collected and compared with the known hairs to attempt identification of the unknowns.

Chemistry - Archeological Studies (2 projects)

Elemental analysis of ancient beads
(LM, SEM and Xray EDS)
Adam Hill (2008)

The light microscope is being used to digitally image ancient beads in conjunction with the SEM and x-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), which are being utilized to image and analyze the elemental composition of archeological artefacts. Together with Prof. Maria Parr and CT State Archeologist Nicholas Bellantoni, Adam Hill (2008) is continuing a project that he began as a freshman to study Native American artefacts, in particular, copper beads from various sources. Depending on known factors that existed at the time of their manufacture, Adam is studying newly discovered copper beads and comparing them with those of known age to test whether the "new" beads are in fact genuine or whether their composition reveals that their origin is modern.

Elemental analysis of ancient coins
(LM, SEM and Xray EDS)
Ashley O'Neal (2010)

The light microscope, SEM, and x-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy are being used by freshman Ashley O'Neal (2010), who completed the 8-week SEM course in Spring 2007. She is working to analyze the structure and elemental composition of Roman bronze coins cast during the reign of Constantinople. The nature and distribuion of the corrosion products are of particular interest. This study is being conducted under the advisement of Prof. Maria Parr.