A fungus gnat (magnification x220). Image: Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre

Almost 600 A level students will be getting up close and personal with science as part of a series of events at Plymouth University.

Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC), based on the city centre campus, will be opening its doors for two weeks of visits from local students starting on Monday 07 September.

It will give biology students an in-depth look at some of the organisms and environments they will encounter as part of their studies.

They will also have the chance to gain hands-on experience of the SEM (scanning electron microscope) and TEM (transmission electron microscope); two cutting edge pieces of equipment within PEMC.

Dr Roy Moate, PEMC Manager, said:

“These sessions are designed to not only bring electron microscopy to life for students at A-level but to give them a taster of university life and the fantastic facilities and opportunities available at Plymouth University. They are tailored to explain how electron microscopy is fundamental in the understanding of cell biology, and its relevance to whole organisms in their environment.”

Electron microscopy enables samples to be viewed and analysed at high magnification and at very high resolution, providing unique information on micro-structure and micro-composition in areas as diverse as biomedical research, earth science, forensic science, materials science, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and even as a tool for modern artists.

Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre – which is based on the main city campus – was transformed in 2012 as part of a £1.3 million three-year project, jointly funded by the University, JEOL (UK) Ltd and a £579,960 grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

It has created a world-class centre for electron microscopy, giving the University state of the art support for research, teaching and industrial collaboration.

And it has enabled over 120 South West companies to explore how electron microscopy could make a difference to their business, in addition to its existing industrial customers.