Our laboratory has mainly invested in two kinds of experimental facilities, microscopic systems to image molecules or organelles at high resolution and at short time intervals, and animal facilities to analyze genetically mutated mice.
We have three types of confocal microscopy. The conventional galvano-mirror scanner presents high-resolution pictures, whereas the resonant scanner permits high-speed data acquisition (1). Spinning-disk confocal microscopy allows us to monitor the samples for a long time with a high speed due to the low phototoxicity (4). Further, we have two total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopes to specifically observe events close to the plasma membrane, such as secretory vesicle docking and fusion in living cells (1). We also routinely use a conventional wide-field microscope in our laboratory and an electron microscopy set up in our institute. Therefore, we can analyze morphological phenomena from many different angles.
Besides common animal facilities (Institute of Experimental Animal Research), we have our own animal breeding room (2), which allows us to do animal experiments conveniently. For example, we can monitor food intake and light and dark phase activities of mice for a long term. We also routinely dissect tissues such as isolation of pancreatic islets under a stereoscopic microscope.
We can thus investigate biological and medical phenomena at multiple levels from molecules to the whole body. Of course, our laboratory is equipped with a lot of general experimental machinery such as apparatus for cell culture (3), multiwell plate reading, protein purification, gradient generation, real time quantitative PCR, microinjection etc.