Application: Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapter for Education

The Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapter (SFA) is a great way to use fluorescence in education. As soon as we introduced the SFA we had researchers saying ‘Now I can use fluorescence in my classes!‘. Fluorescent transgenic animals are a great way to teach genetics, development, and other concepts, but without a way to visualize them you can’t take advantage of this. The biggest barriers to using fluorescence have been the cost and complexity of fluorescence microscopes. You are just not going to turn a group of inexperienced undergraduates loose on your $25k or more lab research system.

The NIGHTSEA SFA lets you put your existing stereo microscopes to use for fluorescence. More and more universities are adopting this, with quantities ranging from 2 to 30.

Download a pdf with several case studies.

A 2017 paper in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education describes the use of the SFA in a laboratory sequence that enables students to explore the effect that random mutagenesis can have on protein function, expression, and ultimately phenotype. This is part of an undergraduate Genetics course (300-level course for sophomore, junior, and senior biology, biochemistry, and marine biology majors).

Here are comments from people using the system in their teaching laboratories:

“Students in Developmental Biology Lab were examining the effects of pharmacological agents on development of zebrafish embryos. In order to better visualize the development of the nervous system and vasculature, we used transgenic fish that expressed GFP either throughout their nervous system or in the developing vasculature. The NIGHTSEA system easily adapted to our dissection scopes and allowed students to observe the development of their fish at several different time-points. They could readily observe the transgene expression, and it helped solidify the phenotypes they were observing and allowed them to determine an optimal time to fix their fish for analysis under the compound microscope.” – Jason Meyers, Colgate University

“We purchased a number of the GFP adapters for use in our undergraduate teaching labs. They have been great – much brighter and easier to use than our old “homemade” system. Our students are now able to observe GFP in C. elegans and zebrafish and take pictures using digital cameras that we mount on the eyepiece. It’s been great having them available – the relatively low cost enabled us to purchase enough for our students, and they allow us to have students make observations of specimens that they would otherwise not be able to study.” – Casey Roehrig, Harvard University

“I would definitely recommend this product to anyone looking for reasonably priced, portable, fluorescence for your stereoscope. Our students were very excited to use them and they did not require any special training as the units adapt easily to the stereoscopes that we presently own and are very user friendly. Due to their affordability, we were able to purchase 6 units for our developmental biology teaching lab! A great investment!” – Katherine Patenaude, Brown University

“We ordered two NIGHTSEA Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapters to use in my graduate level genetics laboratory course at Boston University. We used these setups to examine an Arabidopsis thaliana population segregating a GFP reporter for a root expressed gene. … The students found the setup very easy to use. Because of the success with the usage of the NIGHTSEA Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapters this year, next year I am going to develop additional lab modules using GFP reporters in Arabidopsis.” – John Celenza, Boston University

The SFA is also easy to take on the road for outreach. Dr. Michael Barresi of Smith College is teaching genetics in middle schools using fluorescent zebrafish and the NIGHTSEA fluorescence adapter.

SFA and genetics in middle school