KEY Award Recipient – 2015

Posted On: Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We are pleased to announce that Dr. Robert Mitchell is the recipient of our first annual KEY Award for new faculty. He will receive a NIGHTSEA Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapter outfitted with two excitation/emission combinations plus $750 in supplies selected from the Electron Microscopy Sciences catalog.


Dr. Mitchell completed his post-doc with Dr. John Hildebrand at the University of Arizona (Department of Neuroscience) and is now in a tenure-track Assistant Professorship position in the Biology Department at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. His research concerns neural structures that respond to the most important odors in the life history of the insect, such as pheromones and host plant volatiles. Deciphering the function of these structures could fast-track the identification of odors that strongly influence insect behavior, yielding new methods to control and monitor for insect pests. He uses a combination of electrophysiology and fluorescent staining followed by confocal microscopy to assign function to these neural structures using beetles as the experimental model.

At UA Dr. Mitchell had ready access to a fluorescence microscope to check his sample preparations before paying for time on the university’s confocal microscope. UW Oshkosh has neither of these readily available, and he plans to use the NIGHTSEA system to pre-screen his samples before making the 100-mile trip to UW Madison to use the confocal there. In addition he will use it for outreach and laboratory activities that he will be managing as instructor of biology and curator of the insect collection at UW Oshkosh. In his application for the award Dr. Mitchell wrote that ‘It is an excellent platform for students to directly learn the principles of emission and excitation in fluorescence microscopy, and it will allow me to translate my experience in insect neurophysiology into outreach activities at the insect collection and in school classrooms.’

There was strong competition for the award. We received numerous applications, all accompanied by strong letters of recommendation. All were worthy and our judging committee of established academic researchers had a tough job reaching consensus on a selection. We were very encouraged by the strong interest in the award and will be offering this again in 2016. Stay tuned for the announcement!



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