DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Confocal microscopy has become an indispensable tool in meeting the needs of biomedical researchers. This is evident at the University of Idaho in the increased use of our existing confocal microscope, a BioRad 1024. While the BioRad was adequate when purchased in 1994, newer instruments with better spectral separation enable researchers to ask questions beyond the confocal instruments often years ago. NIH- funded biomedical research at the University of Idaho has grown significantly in these ten years. In addition to several new R01 grants the University, by virtue of its location in an IDeA-eligible state, is host to two COBRE Center grants and the INBRE infrastructure program from the NCRR. This proposal is to purchase a Leica TCS SP2 confocal microscope to support the research of seven NIH-funded investigators, four of whom have R01 awards, and a fifth will begin in July 2005. Their areas of expertise range from developmental neurobiology to microbial and biofilm research. In addition five minor users, who also have federally funded projects, will make use of the instrument as the basis for future NIH funding. We have acquired preliminary data on new Leica and Zeiss microscopes, as well as our own BioRad. These preliminary results are included in the proposal. We have selected the basic Leica confocal because it will meet our current needs at modest cost. Moreover, it is demonstrably easier for training new users, as it consists of an upright microscope, and can be readily upgraded to two-photon capability with future supplementary funding. Our existing confocal core lab will be upgraded in summer 2005 with an adjoining tissue culture lab and wet lab to facilitate biofilm and microbial studies. The business plan includes an internal advisory group and university support for a service contract and senior expert technician. The new Leica confocal microscope will meet a critical need of our investigators to answer the next set of questions in each of their fields for many years to come.