Last fall, Bluefield State College’s Basic Science Building room 314 stored chemicals for the teaching laboratories in the building. Today, the same room bears a different name and role—The Southern West Virginia Imaging Core Facility.
“The transformation has been remarkable,” noted Dr. James Walters, Associate Professor of Biology at BSC, Chair of the Applied Science and Mathematics program, and advisor to the BSC Biomedical Club. After the chemicals were relocated, Dr. Walters designed the layout for the Imaging Core Facility, even painting the walls. Dr. Guy Sims, BSC’s Dean of Students and Title III administrator, utilized Title III funds to underwrite the cost of new benches and furniture. Next, five new microscopes, two of which were purchased through a grant from the WV-Idea Network for Biomedical Research Excellence, were installed.
“The microscopes are all ‘leading edge’ models,” Walters continued. Currently, 25 BSC students involved in biomedical research at the College are trained in the use of the microscopes, light cameras, and software. Soon each microscope will have its dedicated digital camera to capture, preserve, and share highly detailed images in biomedical research.
“The Southern West Virginia Imaging Core Facility at BSC is a regional resource for advanced imaging that augments student research and training,” Walters explained. “Students can apply their academic training through utilizing the microscopes in their research within our labs. This ‘hands on’ experience will be invaluable in preparing our students to matriculate into regional research positions and graduate medical school programs, then compete successfully in an international career market.”
Walters, the West Virginia Academy of Science President, also observed that the Core Imaging Facility can serve as a resource for regional academic, businesses, and industry clients involved in high technology scientific imaging.
A grand opening for the Southern West Virginia Imaging Core Facility and a new chemistry instrumentation room is being planned, during which area businesses, public and private entities, and the public can learn more about the facility.