Imaging facilities

Formally opened in April 2012, the state-of–the-art suite of microscopy and imaging equipment, specifically designed for non-invasive imaging of cellular processes, has been operational since April 2011. The Manager of the SMC is Dr Dave Spiller, Senior Experimental Officer.

The imaging facilities currently comprise seven confocal microscopes all from Carl Zeiss Ltd for fluorescence imaging (including 2 of the latest, cutting-edge LSM880 confocal systems. One Zeiss LSM780 and one LSM880 microscope are equipped with multiphoton lasers. There are also three wide-field microscopes and a set of low-level light cameras for luminescence detection. Four of the confocal microscopes are capable of advanced fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and Raster Image Correlation Spectroscopy (RICS) for single molecule analysis of protein quantification, dynamics and interactions. The Zeiss LSM880 systems are equipped with the AiryScan detector which gives ultimate signal-to-noise and capability for super-resolution imaging

The equipment available provides a combination of hardware and software to support long-term, time-lapse, multi-parameter fluorescent and luminescent imaging and enables researchers to measure multiple biological processes in real time, at resolutions limited only by the wavelength of the light used and can assist biologists with a wide range of research interests.

This suite is designed so that we have computer control of each individual room. Tissue culture, entrance and the image analysis rooms are all set to 23°C. The rest of the suite is set at 26°C so that the 37°C incubators on the microscopes are able to maintain temperature more easily. 26°C was chosen as the highest temperature that it is reasonably comfortable to work in. Currently, it is possible to achieve +-0.5°C in each room.

Contact for the Imaging Facility

Dr Dave Spiller | Senior Experimental Officer | B3201A Michael Smith Building, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5283


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We have three inverted microscopes which we use with a set of very low light level cameras, which can also be used in the confocal and lightsheet microscopes. The cameras include a Hamamatsu ImageEM electron multiplying CCD, a Hamamatsu back-thinned deep cooled Orca 2 and three Andor electron multiplying CCD cameras. The luminescence microscopes are used exclusively for imaging promoter activity in living cells using luciferases. For this application it is essential that the microscopes are in entirely dark rooms and have no internal or external light sources.

Luminescence imaging
Widefield microscopes

LSM 880 Fluorescence Luminesce

LSM 880 Multiphoton

Zeiss Z1 Lightsheet Microscope

Zeiss Z1 Lightsheet Microscope with clearing optics

enabling researchers to measure biological processes in real time