Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapter for Education
EMS Catalog #SFA Nightsea
The NIGHTSEA Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapter (SFA) is a great way to use fluorescence in education. As soon as we introduced the SFA we had researchers saying "Now I can use fluorescence in my classes...". Fluorescent transgenic animals are a great way to teach genetics, but without a way to visualize them you can’t take advantage of this. The big barrier to using fluorescence has been the cost and complexity of fluorescence microscopes. You are just not going to turn a group of inexperienced undergraduates loose on your $25k or more lab system.
The NIGHTSEA SFA lets you put your existing stereo microscopes to use for fluorescence. You can acquire dozens of SFAs for the cost of just one research fluorescence microscope, and several universities have already done this – one purchased 28 and another purchased 30! The cost? Less than $24k total for each of these purchases.
Here are comments from a faculty member at Colgate University:
Students in Developmental Biology Lab were examining the effects of pharmacological agents on development of zebrafish embryos. In order to better visualize the development of the nervous system and vasculature, we used transgenic fish that expressed GFP either throughout their nervous system or in the developing vasculature. The NIGHTSEA system easily adapted to our dissection scopes and allowed students to observe the development of their fish at several different time-points. They could readily observe the transgene expression, and it helped solidify the phenotypes they were observing and allowed them to determine an optimal time to fix their fish for analysis under the compound microscope.
For quick screens it actually worked perfectly well in a bright room. For more intimate looking (more than presence/absence calls), we turned out the room lights. Worked better than I’d hoped it would.
And from a recently completed lab session with the 28 adapters:
It was great! I think that the students really enjoyed it, and some of the pictures that I’ve seen have been pretty nice. We were able to use the light sources both for the dissecting scopes and the compound scopes (for which we already had other filters), which was a great help and allowed the students to really get a good view of some of the specimens.
The SFA is also easy to take on the road for outreach. Dr. Michael Barresi of Smith College is teaching genetics in middle schools using fluorescent zebrafish and the NIGHTSEA fluorescence adapter. Click the image below to see a video. The NIGHTSEA SFA appears at about the 2:30 mark.