Q: What is the UMass Vibrating Probe Facility?
A: The University and Industry sponsored UMVP Facility is a research resource with two components: a development component and a collaborative research component. The first component has the goal of developing new non-invasive instrumentation for measuring transmembrane flux of ions or molecules. The second unit hosts resident and visiting scientists who use the instrumentation developed by the facility to investigate their own particular biological questions.
Q: How can I get to use the UMVP Collaborative Facility for my project?
A: An investigator considering the use of instrumentation described in this Web site, may examine the accompanying web pages to see if any prior application or new technology fits your situation and then, contact the UMVP Director, Joe Kunkel, by Mail, Email or telephone and explain your interest.
Q: Why non-invasive?
A: To study the physiology of a pattern of current around a cell one needs to avoid injury currents. The very process of poking a probe into a cell causes an injury current and changes the physiology of the cell. If one can probe a cell non-invasively one can take multiple measurements with some assurance that early measurements do not affect later measurements.
Q: Why vibrating probes?
A: The various probes that are used derive their resolution of small gradients of the measured signals from the ability to take many measurements at one extreme of an oscillation and compare those measurements with many at the other extreme of oscillation. Using such an internal self-referencing control achieves great precision in the measurement.