Universiteit Stellenbosch
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First serial block-face microscope in SA at Tygerberg Campus
Outeur: Els & Kriel
Gepubliseer: 21/05/2020

The Electron Microscopy (EM) unit has added a new member to their family - the ThermoFischer Apreo VolumeScope scanning electron microscope (or just the Apreo SEM for short). The Apreo SEM is an extremely versatile electron microscope, capable of acquiring conventional SEM images as well as 3D volumetric SEM data sets through a specialised process called serial block-face microscopy. Located at Tygerberg Campus, the Apreo is the first serial block-face microscope in South Africa and will allow researchers to conduct volumetric SEM analysis on various biological materials, from tissues to single cells. This is especially useful for medical researchers and biologists, as cellular ultrastructure can be assessed in its 'natural' 3D confirmation, as opposed to conventional 2D SEM.  

The new SEM is also accompanied by a new CAF staff member, Mr Jurgen Kriel, who will primarily provide SEM analytical services to medical researchers on Tygerberg campus. Jurgen is currently in the end stages of his PhD in Physiological Sciences and has previously worked as a student assistant at the Fluorescence Microscopy unit. Although many research projects are placed on hold during lockdown, the EM unit is still providing services to registered essential service companies. Jurgen is currently conducting SEM for the Stellenbosch Nanofiber Company (SNC), who are in the process of producing filter layers to be used in critically needed medical grade face masks.