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LSS 107: Under the Microscope

In today’s show, we hear interviews of two different professionals who use microscopes in their work.

Mark Sarvary starts the show off by presenting a review of an exhibition called “The History of Glass and the Microscope”, that was on display in 2016 at the Corning Museum of Glass. You can still read about the exhibit here: (https://www.cmog.org/collection/exhibitions/microscopes).

Diagram of set-up for visualization of Fluorescent-stained proteins on DNA (figure courtesy of Dr. Brooks Crickard (https://blogs.cornell.edu/crickardlab/sample-page-1/))

Our first interview of today’s show is with Dr. Brooks Crickard, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University. He talks about his research using single molecule total internal reflection microscopy (TIRFM). This technique allows him to directly visualize proteins and protein complexes as they function on DNA in real-time. Crickard also discusses challenges he has faced as a new faculty member during the pandemic.

Foldscope parts (bottom) and Instructions (top) (Photo courtesy of Sten Anderson)

In the second part of our show, you’ll hear an interview with Sten Anderson, a science teacher at DeWitt Middle school in Ithaca, New York. He recently taught his 7th grade students how to use foldscopes, flexible, waterproof, paper-based microscopes (www.foldscopes.com).  Students learned how to use foldscopes during both in-person and remote instruction.  Anderson guided students in how to gather, examine and record images of non-living and living specimens.  The purchase of a foldscope for each of his students was made possible by a Red and Gold Grant from the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (http://www.ipei.org).

Producer: Liz Mahood

Segments: Mark Sarvary, Nancy Ruiz, Esther Racoosin

Music: Joe Lewis, Blue Dot Sessions

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