A miniature microscope for fluorescence imaging

Project Overview

The client, Professor Matthew Merrins, teaches human biochemistry lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The course focuses on the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase, which produces lactate from pyruvate. Currently, his lab utilizes Laconic, a Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based biosensor. This biosensor detects the presence of Lactate in healthy, living cells, but the fluorescence must be monitored over a period using a high cost microscope. This microscope excites the lactate biosensor using a system of LEDs and a filter. The fluorescence emission between the two different wavelengths is recorded. Since the current microscope in his lab in extremely expensive, the goal to to build a low-cost microscope specifically targeted to his research.

The final product will be a single prototype device that will allow his students to measure FRET with this device. This device will be similar to his lab’s microscope as it will contain an excitation source, two different filters for FRET, and a camera that will capture the images of the specimen in the solution chamber.


Team picture

Team members from left to right: Kadina Johnston, Kaitlyn Gabardi, John Rupel, Zach Alden


Project Files

Contact Information

Team Members

  • John Rupel - Team Leader
  • Kadina Johnston - Communicator
  • Zach Alden - BSAC
  • Kaitlyn Gabardi - BWIG & BPAG

Advisor and Client

  • Jeremy Rogers - Advisor
  • Prof. Matthew Merrins - Client