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UC San Diego School of Medicine and Leica Establish Center of Excellence in Microscopy

A histological section from a cat eye using contrasting confocal microscopy and software. Image courtesy of Leica Microsystems.

University of California San Diego, in a collaborative agreement with Leica Microsystems, Inc., has opened a new Leica Microsystems Center of Excellence on the School of Medicine campus to further the application of and accessibility to advanced microscopy technologies in support of the life science and health research communities. The center will support a combined mission to educate the next generation of scientists and drive new scientific discoveries.

A signing ceremony, with Steven Garfin, MD, interim dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Greg Eppink, general manager of Leica Microsystems Americas, took place Thursday, February 7, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. in the Leichtag Family Foundation Biomedical Research Building.

Housed in the School of Medicine Microscopy Core, the new center will feature Leica confocal microscopy technology purchased by the department, including FALCON fast lifetime contrast imaging and stimulated emission depletion (STED), multiphoton and confocal super-resolution microscopy systems able to capture dynamic processes at the molecular level.

“Our core has been serving the microscopy imaging needs of researchers across the campus for more than 15 years,” said Binhai Zheng, PhD, professor in the Department of Neurosciences and faculty director of the microscopy core who will also oversee the new center. “With the support of our institutional leadership, the new partnership with Leica will boost our ability to provide advanced tools to our researchers for years to come, supporting cross-campus initiatives, such as the new Center for Network Medicine and its mission to enhance human life through innovative, disruptive research.”

Garfin agreed: “The science and practice of medicine are relentlessly more complicated and nuanced, requiring physicians and scientists to understand the workings of the human body in ever-increasing detail. The new Leica center offers another, powerful tool, one that can be used by students and faculty alike.”

The center will include ongoing collaboration between working researchers and Leica Microsystems engineers, creating valuable dialogue in how to improve and innovate software, systems and workflow.  

“Collaborating with a world class organization like UC San Diego to enable them to push the limits of what is seen is truly exciting for Leica and we look forward to working with UC San Diego today and for many years into the future,” said Eppink. “Leica Microsystems’ mission is to provide unrivaled insight for our customers by pushing the limits of what was previously possible and visible.”

About UC San Diego Health

UC San Diego Health, comprising a comprehensive health system throughout San Diego County, UC San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, is one of five academic medical systems within the University of California system. We are committed to improving patient care while also researching new treatments and training tomorrow’s doctors and pharmacists. For more than 50 years, our renowned clinicians and scientists have made advances in numerous fields, including minimally invasive surgeries, personalized cancer therapy, cardiovascular treatment and surgery, transplantation and the early detection of autism. Our specialty patient care is consistently ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report.

About Leica Microsystems

Leica Microsystems develops and manufactures microscopes and scientific instruments for the analysis of micro and nanostructures, basic research and medical applications. It has seven major manufacturing plants and product development sites around the world and operates in 100 countries. Its headquarters are located in Wetzlar, Germany.


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