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Research in the EM Facility - 2008/2009

Academic Year 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2009/2010

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

Biology - Viviparous Reptiles

Embryonic snake
(LM and SEM)
Kristie Anderson (2010)
The LM and SEM is enabling the elucidation of structures that arise during the embryonic development of corn snakes, both the egg-laying or oviviparous Pituophis guttatus and the live-bearer or viviparous Storeria dekayi . They are under investigation by Kristie Anderson (2010) who learned to use the SEM as a freshman in the Interdisciplinary Science Program 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.

Chemistry - Active Sites on Collagen

DNA and collagen molecules (TEM & rotary shadowing)
Piper Klemm (2009)
The TEM enables visualization of biological macromolecules such as DNA and collagen. The rotary shadowing technique is employed to make these macromolecules visible in the TEM. Under the direction of Prof. Prigodich, Piper Klemm (2009) is using the Philips CM12 TEM/STEM and the rotary shadowing technique to study the active sites of Type I tropocollagen. She first performed a proof-of-concept experiment using DNA (imaged here). She is now working to determine the correct concentration, pH, and other factors in order to visualize and study the binding sites on collagen.

Chemistry - Studies of Archeological Artefacts

Fragment from Hellcat aircraft and from a Colonial-era spoon
(SEM and X-ray Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy)

Jennifer Gifford (2010)

The SEM makes possible the study of archeological artefacts recovered from local digsites of historical interest. This project involves morphological and elemental analysis of two types. One type consists of fragments from the Hellcat aircraft that crashed in CT. Under the direction of Prof. Parr, Jen Gifford (2010) is studying these fragments to elucidate their composition and to establish details regarding their probable manufacture and corrosion products resulting from their burial site. In a separate study, she is using similar techniques to look at household utensils and other tools manufactured during Colonial times, such as the spoon that is imaged here.