User: Lynne Coluccio, a cell biologist at Boston Biomedical Research Institute, Watertown, Mass.
Project: Structure and function of the unconventional (nonmuscle) myosin, myo-1c, expressed in the hair cells of the inner ear.
Problem: Unless a lab focuses primarily on imaging, few researchers without a generous startup package can afford a specialized microscope, which can cost between $250,000 and $600,000.
Solution: Coluccio and nine colleagues applied for a National Institutes of Health grant to cover a shared setup. Projects range from calcium signaling in muscle to cancer cell interactions, so the group decided on a spinning-disk confocal microscope, which can image on both a short- and long-time scale. "Conventional...