Biologist Stephen Stricker needs a confocal laser imaging system to do his research, a need shared by about 20 of his colleagues at the University of New Mexico. Fortunately for them, a new program offered by a major manufacturer of confocal systems aims to better the chances that such scientists will be able to assemble sufficient funding to obtain these devices by helping them identify potential sources of equipment grants.

Last September, Cambridge, Mass.-based Bio-Rad Laboratories Microscience Division established a Grant Assistance Program to aid scientists like Stricker in their search for the money to buy one of these devices.

Stricker's research involves tracking calcium in cells. One way to do this, he explains, is to inject fluorescent, calcium-sensitive markers into living cells and then use imaging technology to create detailed pictures of the cell's calcium status.

The confocal system needed to obtain such pictures can't be found on the...

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