Journal cover features work of St. Olaf researchers
The cover of the most recent issue of the Journal of Chemical Education features a paper written by St. Olaf College Associate Professor of Biology John Giannini and continuing education student Chris Stewart.
The piece, titled “Inexpensive, Open Source Epifluorescence Microscopes,” explains how to modify or build microscopes for viewing fluorescent cells or other samples by using 3D printing technology or parts available at most hardware stores.
Although similar commercial microscopes typically cost thousands of dollars, a school or research lab could make the models that Stewart and Giannini describe for only a few hundred dollars.
As a result, their article has the potential to greatly expand the use of fluorescence microscopy — and the valuable insights that it can provide — in the classroom and teaching or research lab.
Ultimately, Giannini and Stewart hope that their article will be especially useful in places that have historically lacked the funds for more advanced scientific equipment, such as schools in inner cities, rural areas, or developing nations.
Stewart and Giannini have designed other low-cost scientific instruments and equipment for educational purposes as well, and they are currently working on a series of papers and a website to disseminate these ideas more widely.