Ball State University Micro-Imaging Laboratory

Micro-Imaging in 3D
3D imaging has opened up an amazing amount of potential for researchers and Ball State's Micro-Imaging Laboratory is helping faculty and students take advantage of these opportunities.

About the Ball State University Micro-Imaging Laboratory
The Ball State University Micro-Imaging Laboratory is a high-resolution imaging facility containing a confocal miscroscope and scanning and transmission electron microscopes. Ball State University's confocal microscope is the only one of its kind in this region. Undergraduate and graduate students have access to the laboratory for sponsored research and in a newly revised course that focuses on electron and confocal microscopic imaging.

More about the Confocal Microscope
Center for Medical Education associate professor Derron Bishop, along with the Indiana University School of Medicine - Muncie (IUSM - Muncie) faculty member Larry Fromm, Department of Nutrition and Health Science faculty members Larry Ganion and Najma Javed, and Department of Biology professor Clare Chatot, received a grant of an estimated $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to fund the purchase of a confocal microscope.

Housed in the interdisciplinary Micro-Imaging Laboratory, the confocal microscope is used by researchers from the IUSM - Muncie, the Department of Nutrition and Health Science, and the Department of Biology.

Research using the microscope includes understanding cellular mechanisms underlying rewiring of the developing nervous system, localizing proteins that regulate the development of the mouse embryo, explaining molecular mechanisms of synapse formation, determining functional roles for annulate lamellae and their interaction with endoplasmic reticulum, and understanding neuroimmune interactions in the digestive system.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to see deep within biological tissues with a normal microscope," Dr. Bishop said. "It is analogous to shining a flashlight into a muddy pond. The confocal microscope allows us to see in the 'muddy pond.' This is accomplished by scanning a laser through fluorescently-labeled biological samples to create 'optical slices.' The 'optical slices' are then stacked together to make a completely in-focus, three-dimensional reconstruction." Because the microscope takes "optical slices" rather than "physical slices," this procedure can be performed even on living tissue. 
  Mouse brain tissue with flourescence seen using a confocal microscope. Derron Bishop has introduced a gene from jelly fish into the mouse's DNA that causes its nerves to glow.

  Nerve regeneration in mouse muscle tissue seen using a confocal microscope.


Department of Physiology & Health Science
Cooper Science Building, CL 325
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-5961
Fax: 765-285-3210