A NEW, $250,000 microscope is boosting the quality and diversity of postgraduate research projects at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
USC Research Fellow Dr Scott Cummins, whose expertise is molecular and cellular biology, said the Nikon confocal microscope had been put to heavy use since it arrived on campus late last year.
Examples include studying germ cells in fish, plant samples in forestry and Dr Cummins' own research into snails, which aims to better understand ageing in humans.
"This will help with my cell imaging of the snails," he said.
The microscope provides the latest technology in image contrast, speed and sensitivity.
"It's about double the normal size of a microscope and has lasers attached," said Dr Cummins.
"We can now take 3D images, quantify cell types and changes in morphology and use it for gene and protein identification."
He said the microscope would help postgraduate research students in fields such as biomedicine, forestry and aquaculture.
"Previously we had to travel to Brisbane for this type of analysis, so it's great for USC," he said.
USC PhD student Jorge Amat-Fernandez, who is researching fish reproduction, said the microscope was helping him to examine the genes of Tilapia fish.