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Welcome to the Center for Computer Integrated Systems for Microscopy and Manipulation (CISMM) at UNC Chapel Hill, funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering through award number 5-P41-EB002025.   CISMM develops force technologies applicable over a wide range of biological settings, from the single molecule to the tissue, applied to cancer. thromboses and lung disease, with integrated systems that orchestrate facile instrument control, multimodal imaging and unique high throughput microscopy instrumentation. Complementing this tool set is the development of a wide range of analysis and visualization tools, in the desktop and in virtual environments, that are being applied to domains from the molecular models of cellular structure, to flows in the three dimensional mesh of blood clots, to a dynamic atlas of geometry and growth in pediatric airways.

NSF/Science Visualization Challenge

CISMM has the honor of having won Honorable Mention in the NSF/Science Visualization Challenge three times.  Michael Stadermann submitted an AFM image of a buckled carbon nanotube made with our nanoManipulator system in 2003.  Russell Taylor, Briana K. Whitaker and Briana L. Carsten submitted an SEM image of our flexible post technology in 2009.  The Mitotic Spindle Group submitted a computer model of the yeast mitotic spindle in 2010.   Click on each image below for a higher-resolution version.

Myocyte Cells


This video was taken with our Panoptes optical system, and shows a monolayer of Sprague-Dawley neonatal rat cardiomyocyte cells that have been plated on a flexible polyacrylamide substrate.  The contractions we see are initiated by a square wave of electric current delivered to the edge of the monolayer.  The wave of contraction is passed from cell to cell, very similarly to the way it is passed within an intact heart.  Embedded within the flexible substrates are fluorescent microspheres, and these are used as markers of the deformation of the sheet.  Our experiments are first geared toward seeing how the stiffness of the flexible substrate alters the amplitude of contractions, and from there calculating forces within the sheet.  We will then extend the technique to high throughput analysis of the effects of drugs and toxins, on these forces and on the patterns of force transmission.

Technology Research and Development (TRD)

TRD 1: Force Microscope Technologies
TRD 2: BioInstrumatics
TRD 3: Biomedical Image Analysis
TRD 4: Discovery Systems: Visualization, Modeling, and Workflow

Collaborations form the heart of our resource

Dr. Zdanski uses VPAW to make a surgical model

Their influence has grown to 18 collaboration projects involving over 28 senior investigator collaborators, with fully one half (9) of the projects located outside of UNC. Collaborators are organized as Collaboration Clusters:

Cell Mechanics Cluster
Lung Cluster
Thrombosis Cluster

Service, Training, and Dissemination

This Resource prides itself on building computer-based tools for microscopy and force measurements to serve the needs of scientists working on the frontiers of knowledge. Our goals are to support visiting scientists, to support Resource-developed hardware/software systems delivered outside the Resource, to support and enhance the research of users who come to our laboratories at UNC.
Service: Come use our resources, either by visiting us at UNC, getting our hardware, or through our free software.
Dissemination: download our software, learn about our work through our publications.
Training: Come learn about forces in biology through our annual Carolina Workshop on Forces in Biology hosted at UNC May 11-13.

Come Use Our Facilities

As an NIH National Research Resource we provide access to our unique facilities to researchers doing related work. Click here to learn more about using this facility.

5-P41-RR02170