Acquisition of Reflex Microscope

Project: Research project

Project Details


With National Science Foundation support, Dr. Joan Richtsmeier will purchase a Reflex Microscope that will be used in data collection for specific research projects and in the training of undergraduate and graduate students. The Reflex Microscope represents a fusion between a small coordinate measuring machine and a surface profiler, and it is ideal for measuring locations, distances and angles in three dimensions on small irregular surfaces. The microscope uses the stereoscopic ability of the observer to pinpoint the surface of an image to within a few microns along the 'Z' axis. This enables a researcher to find biologically relevant landmarks by precisely locating a tiny illuminated spot over the landmark and demarcating that point by writing the three-dimensional coordinates of the spot to a computer file. Dr. Richtsmeier and colleagues have developed a set of morphometric methods known as Euclidean Distance Matrix Analysis which allow quantitative description and comparison of form, shape and growth of biological objects in three dimensions as well as the clustering and classification of specimens. In conjunction with the Reflex Microscope these techniques will permit quantitative analysis of small biological forms, both extant and extinct in three dimensions. A number of projects will be conducted by a range of scientists. One of the first will focus on the development and evolution of the mammalian skull, using a murine model. Employing genetically modified mice, it will be possible to determine the effect of single genes on the expression of morphological form. This research is basic since the mechanisms involved will, presumably, apply across a wide range of species. Other projects for which the microscope will be employed involve the evolution of early Eocene mammals, the quantitative analysis of teeth and tooth ware and bone sectional geometry and biomechanics. The instrument will also be made available to students who will be instructed in its use.

Effective start/end date8/1/9910/31/00


  • National Science Foundation: $45,295.00


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