UCLA, in collaboration with Leica Microsystems, Inc., has established the Leica Center of Excellence at UCLA. Housed in the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, the unit will provide a framework to fast-track the commercial development of new optical microscopy tools and methods.

A memorandum of understanding was signed May 9 at UCLA by Jeff F. Miller, the director of CNSI and UCLA’s Fred Kavli Professor of Nanosystems Science, and Doug Spotts, vice president and general manager of Leica Microsystems Americas. As part of the agreement, Leica engineers and developers will provide UCLA scientists with access to expert technical and applications support.

Over the next five years, the center will support CNSI’s objectives of educating the next generation of scientists and engineers, and providing state-of-the-art technologies to enhance UCLA’s standing as a leading academic research institution. The agreement was spearheaded by Dr. Laurent Bentolila, the director of the Advanced Light Microscopy and Spectroscopy Laboratory at CNSI, which will host the new center.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with Leica through this center of excellence,” Bentolila said. “The center will provide CNSI with the cutting-edge technology to help us maintain our leadership in biophotonics research and its application to the imaging of tissues, cells, subcellular structures and biological molecules.”

Marc Roseboro/CNSI
At the ceremony for the new center: Doug Spotts and David LeBlanc of Leica Microsystems, with Laurent Bentolila and Jeff F. Miller of UCLA.

Leica develops and manufactures microscopes and scientific instruments for the analysis of microstructures and nanostructures, and the company is a market leader in optical microscopy. It has established Leica centers of excellence at other universities, but the center at UCLA is the first one west of the Mississippi River.

“One of the most exciting aspects of this agreement between UCLA’s CNSI and Leica is the progress we will make together in using Leica platforms to provide workflows using advanced image analysis techniques,” said Greg Eppinik, general manager of microscopy at Leica Microsystems. “UCLA will be able to provide us with the feedback we need to drive innovation in not only our technological and software tools, but also through development of workflow solutions.”

Miller said, “We are delighted to launch this center of excellence with our colleagues at Leica. We look forward to a collaboration that will provide the very latest technology to UCLA faculty, staff and trainees.”