An unassuming building in inner-city Ultimo has become Australia's mission control for the investigation of inner space with the launch of sophisticated microscopy facilities by the UTS Faculty of Science.
On Thursday 5 November Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science Senator Kim Carr unveiled facilities including Australia's first DeltaVision OMX 3D-Sim Super-Resolution microscope, one of only two in the world.
The $1.5 million OMX allows scientists to study the sub-cellular structures of bacteria and parasites – and their interactions with host cells – at a resolution at least twice as sharp as other light microscopes.
It is a crucial tool for UTS scientists researching ways to treat or block infectious disease-causing organisms, but will also advance research into cancer, diabetes, immune disorders and many other diseases.
The OMX is just one element in cutting-edge imaging facilities that will boost Australia's capacity in biotechnology, health, biological and physical sciences research, said UTS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ross Milbourne.
"The new Microbial Imaging Facility (MIF) and expanded Microstructural Analysis Unit (MAU) establish the UTS Faculty of Science as the 'microscopy solution specialist' in Australia and possibly abroad," Professor Milbourne said.
"These two suites of advanced microscopy and materials characterisation instruments allow us to observe anything in any shape and form – it could be bacteria cells, biofilms, coral, or determining the authenticity of a priceless piece of Monet's work.
"They provide superior, high-quality imaging solutions for all disciplines of science, from helping us understand and treat diseases to enabling environmental scientists to better understand the impact of climate change.
"Already the Microstructural Analysis Unit is at the forefront in developing materials for the next generation of energy efficient, environmentally friendly solid-state lighting.
"I am particularly pleased about the availability and accessibility of these facilities. Both the MIF and MAU are open to students, researchers and industry partners 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"While these facilities open up possibilities to researchers here at UTS, they will also foster a wealth of collaborative research. At UTS we take great pride in our track record in working with our peers, as well as partners in industry, government and the professions. These new facilities will further enhance those relationships," Professor Milbourne said.