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Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture

At Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, Dr. Francisco Tanaka frequently reinforces the fact that, what makes the support nucleus for electron microscopy research in agriculture (NAP/MEPA) one of the best multiuser facilities to go for electron microscopy training in Brasil is the hands-on approach. The trainee under the facility's guidance will practice, rather than theorize, about EM. This is a NAP/MEPA tradition in its deepest core being transferred to his hands as the new coordinator.

The NAP/MEPA is coordinated by Dr. Francisco André Ossamu Tanaka, also a member of the Plant Pathology and Nematology Department. His expertise focuses on anatomy and ultrastructure of sick and healthy plants, mainly in the following topics: electron microscopy, plant pathology and plant anatomy. Dr. Tanaka shares the center`s administration with Dr. Elliot Watanabe Kitajima, retired center`s founder and renowned virologist. Both share the passion for science and imaging. 


The NAP/MEPA ESALQ initiated operations in 1995 as a true multi-user, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional organization. Approximately 2500 users have been trained in 120 courses (introductory and special) from various institutions within the country and abroad. This army of microscopists generated 1,060 publications using the facilities.

NAP/MEPA Initial funding was obtained from a pool formed by the contribution of essentially all departments, which were supported at that time by a BID/USP program (Inter American Bank of Development / University of São Paulo) for lab equipment improvement. Dr. Kitajima, as director, conducted a vigorous teaching and research program and purchased additional equipment. Most of the equipment was acquired through support from FAPESP (São Paulo State Support Research Foundation. The nucleus was also supported by a PADCT (Support Program for the Development of Science and Technology) for equipment maintenance.

Recent images obtained on the JEOL JEM-1011, left: Ca Liberibacter solanacearum within the celery phloem. Right: a giant nematode cell (Credit: Dr. Tanaka).