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The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced $17 million in funding of 17 CZI Imaging Scientists, including Michelle S. Itano, PhD, director of the UNC Neuroscience Microscopy Core, who will receive approximately $780,000 to work with UNC-Chapel Hill scientists.

The Core, which is funded by the UNC Neuroscience Center and the UNC Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, is now housed in the newly reconstructed state-of-the-art Mary Ellen Jones Building. The grant will support Itano’s work in full over the next five years to help increase the interactions between biologists and technology experts and to improve imaging tools for the scientific community at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Itano received her doctorate degree from the UNC School of Medicine, did her postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University, and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at Carolina. She uses an interdisciplinary approach to develop and apply new and innovative fluorescence microscopy imaging techniques to answer critical and previously intractable questions in cell and neurobiology.

She has developed and applied advanced microscopy techniques, cell biological applications, and quantitative image analysis to uncover important relationships between proteins, non-coding RNAs, viral RNA genomes, and other building blocks of basic biology. Through her expertise, she helps scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill and the surrounding area make crucial discoveries about human health and disease.

As director of the Neuroscience Microscopy Core at the UNC Neuroscience Center, she provides and customizes state-of-the-art optical imaging and analysis applications to support a wide range of scientific investigations. She trains scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill and consults with them to fully address their imaging needs through her expertize.

Itano is the first UNC-Chapel Hill researcher to receive a CZI grant. Read more about these awards at CZI and Medium.