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Call For Proposals

Segmented synaptic spines.

Call for Applications

The Microscopy Innovation Lab welcomes collaborations from individuals who require advanced imaging technology to address cutting-edge biological questions. Applications for collaboration will be reviewed and selected by the Microscopy Innovation Lab welcomes oversight committee. Criteria include likelihood of delivering important biological insight, suitability for specialized microscope techniques provided by Microscopy Innovation Lab, promising preliminary data from other microscope modalities such as confocal microscopy and commitment to assuming responsibility for management and analysis of huge datasets (see below). Please be aware that Microscopy Innovation Labcan only accommodate a few collaborations at a time.

Intellectual Commitment

Development, use, and maintenance of instrumentation, as well as data handling and analysis, for advanced imaging equipment is non-trivial.  Datasets routinely reach multi-TB levels. Moreover, data acquisition and analysis must often be tailored to the sample and/or the questions being asked. As such, the Microscopy Innovation Lab does not operate as a user facility but a collaborative space with the expectation of contributing intellectually and being recognized with co-authorship or acknowledgement as appropriate on all submitted manuscripts. 

Financial and Collaborative Models

  • Custom Design and Construction – Development of new instrumentation tailored to a specific biological question. All costs covered by the PI (student/postdoc salary, optical components, service contracts, etc.).  Once built, access for primary PI prioritized, but the instrument will be available to other UTSW faculty on a fee-for-use basis.  Microscopy Innovation Lab director will serve as co-mentor for postdoc/student and be recognized as co-corresponding author on the resulting first manuscript.
  • Data Acquisition and Analysis – Access to existing microscopy instrumentation and assistance with data handling and analysis. PI financially covers portion of facility operation costs (salary support and equipment amortization) in the form of a negotiated per project (i.e. time-dependent) fee.
  • Hourly Imaging and Processing – Alternatively, for trial projects, equipment is available on an hourly basis for $50/hour.  This price includea a dedicated staff scientist to help with the data acquisition and post-processing.  All scheduling done through the Live Cell Imaging Facility scheduling system.

Applicant Instructions

         Please submit the following information in PDF format to kevin.dean@utsouthwestern.edu.  Keep the application brief (~3 pages).

  • Project Description - A technical summary of the project, and the required imaging metrics (spatial and temporal resolution, fluorophores, imaging depth, sensitivity) needed for success.
  • Biological objective – What questions are you asking and how can imaging be used to address them.
  • Preliminary Data - Provide imaging data that clearly demonstrates effective sample preparation (labeling specificity, optical clearing, etc.) and why imaging cannot be carried out using other less specialized modalities.
  • Data Quantification Strategy – How will the data be evaluated quantitatively to test the hypothesis? What computational resources do you have for long-term storage of the data generated?  Although not a prerequisite, are you proficient in Linux and do you have access to BioHPC?
  • Measurable Outcomes – How can we know that we achieved success? Submission of a grant?  Submission of a paper?