Australian scientists and researchers will have access to one of the world’s most advanced optical microscopy facilities with the opening of the Nikon Centre of Excellence in Optical Microscopy at The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA).
The new facility, located at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research is home to six instruments, including some of the most powerful optical microscopes on the planet, up to 20 times more powerful than the previous generation of optical instruments.
Professor David Sampson from UWA’s Centre for Microscopy Characterisation and Analysis said the instruments would help researchers make major advances in medicine, biology and science by allowing them to see things on a scale that had never been possible before.
“To give you an indication of just how powerful these microscopes are, they can see things 1000 times smaller than what the human eye can see and show detail as tiny as the footprint of a fly,” Professor Sampson said.
The microscopes will be used for everything from understanding vision in animals, to learning about cells in mammals and for research into bacteria and infectious diseases.
“This is really exciting because for the first time we will be able to see the mechanics of how molecules work within cells in huge detail,” Professor Sampson said.
“This will help us understand life, see how diseases affect cells to help us develop cures and see all sorts of things that happen on a very tiny scale.”
Professor Sampson said the research community who will use the facility were very excited about possibilities of the technology because it would give them a window into new discoveries.
“Perth is incredibly fortunate to have this kind of technology at our fingertips, its been long awaited and will definitely be a game changer,” Professor Sampson said.
The centre is the only one of its kind in Australia and is one of only 10 Nikon Centres of Excellence in the world.
The centre is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and is a collaboration between Nikon, ARC and Australian universities.
Jess Reid (UWA Media Adviser) (+61 8) 6488 6876