MARQUETTE - Mayo Clinic has donated two tissue culture incubators to Northern Michigan University. Students in biology, chemistry and clinical laboratory sciences will have access to the units for course-related work and independent research.

"In order to perform cell cultures, the tissue has to be stored at normal body temperature, which is 37 degrees Celsius," said Jessica Jennings, an NMU student from Marquette. "The incubators keep that temperature constant so we can do experiments on proteins and various aspects of cell chromosome analysis."

NNW professors say they rarely have the luxury of purchasing multiple pieces of the same equipment. The incubators - worth about $5,000 each - will expand access for students and give them more opportunities to become involved in cell culture techniques. The only cost to NNFU was $500 required to transport the units from Rochester, Minn., to Marquette.

"It's nice to see how a cooperative educational effort can lead to bettering the academic experience here at Northern," said Eugene Wickenheiser, head of the NNW chemistry department. "Our students are able to gain additional experience and Mayo benefits because students leave here with a working knowledge of techniques and equipment."

Mayo made the incubators available to Northern when it purchased a different system.

"This is actually the latest in a series of gifts they have presented the university," said Nell Cumberlidge, head of the NNW biology department. "We also received a fluorescent microscope and some darkroom equipment."

Mayo and NNFU have established an educational partnership that revolves around the university's diagnostic genetics program. NMU students participate in internships at the renowned clinic and most are offered permanent employment before graduation because Mayo is trying to meet the staffing demands of this growing career field.

Another extension of the partnership occurred last fall. At Mayo's invitation, a delegation of NMU students, alumni and staff took a bus trip to Rochester for an extensive tour of the facility.

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director