Dear Ciliate Researchers,
I sent out an email two years ago that we had a device for compressing and immobilizing various microorganisms, including ciliates. Only a handful of labs have expressed interest and have purchased one! The devices have been sold by word of mouth and most are being used successfully by folks studying other organisms, including mammalian cells.
I still have about 40 devices available for purchase. This device is really a must-have if you are, or want to, perform live cell imaging on motile organisms. This will allow you to take advantage of the wide range of genetically encoded fluorescent proteins and reporters and may help you get that next grant funded! It is my hope that this device makes Ciliates more attractive in general as model systems. Our manuscript on this technology is in press in the Journal of Microscopy and Microanalysis. I would be happy to send a pre-print if you are interested.
In the last two years, we incorporated a variety of platforms and microfluidics into the device, and we have used the microcompressor to image a wide range of organisms from bacteria to fish embryos. One can use the devices for photobleaching organelles and for total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. We have also developed some tricks for immobilizing whole fields of cells at exactly the same z distance (in manuscript).
This compressor is easy to use and align and works on both upright and inverted microscopes for high resolution light and fluorescence microscopy. Students in my Cell Biology teaching lab are able to trap living Paramecium or Tetrahymena on an inverted epifluorescence microscope after only 15 minutes training.
I am putting together a training video that we will make available on Youtube as there is some simple advice that makes the device easier to use.
The new discounted price is $900.00 per unit (a 40% discount). I still owe money for the machining of these devices. One unit consists of a fully functional compressor unit, several backup cover slips
and slides (all commercially available and inexpensive), and a tool for adjusting the compressor mount. The brass device will last years.
I have no plans to make more of them, and I expect once this paper is published (in a few weeks) that researchers in other fields will likely purchase many, if not all of them.
We have provided custom-designed devices for several labs with microfluidics (so you can perfuse in media or drugs) incorporated into them for free. Many of you probably have microfabrication facilities at your institution that can help you outfit your device for microfluidics as well.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.