Welcome to Case Studies in Microscopy

A sampling of images from the Cornell Microscopy Imaging Center. This series of case-based studies was developed to help you better understand how microscopy provides us with important information about our world. These cases are based on real life scenarios. In each case, microscopy contributed critical information to make some very important decisions that affected many, many people. Now it's your turn!

Each case is organized around a problem or question.
What should you do?

  • Understand the scenario by reading background references.
  • Collect and interpret the data
  • Analyze your results and make a recommendation

Cryptosporidium and the New York City Watershed
The New York City watershed provides water for over 9 million people. Is the watershed in danger of contamination? The EPA says “yes;” NYC says “no.” You decide! This case is available now.


The Fatal Flu
What at first appears to be a mild flu outbreak turns into a deadly world-wide epidemic. Time is running out—can you help identify the emerging mystery pathogen? This case is available now.

to fatal flu

Battle of the Biofilms
When the water supply goes bad on a cruise ship, you can be sure biofilms are involved.   The questions is-- what can be done? You are called upon to figure out how to control these insidious hazards. This case is available now.

Middle Ear Mayhem
Why is it that some children get ear infections over and over and over? A wealthy alumnus is willing to give you a large grant if you can figure out why. (with Brian Forster) This case is available now.
To middle ear
Aches on a Plane
There's a terrible outbreak of food poisoning on a plane that just landed in NYC. As chief epidemiologist for the city, its your job to find out what caused it and from where it came. (with Jose Carlos Huguet) This case is available now.
To Aches

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