Research imaging facility

  • The Research Imaging Facility (RIF) provides approximately 2900 square feet of laboratory space dedicated to imaging and quantitative analyses. 
  • Staff provide education and training for equipment, technical support, protocol development, and contractual research projects.  
  • Trained researchers have 24-hour access to the equipment, 7 days a week. Contact core laboratory staff for training.


Confocal microscopy:

  • Zeiss LSM800 scanning confocal microscope (laser lines 405, 488, 561, and 640nm) is an inverted platform equipped with the Airyscan array detector with increases detection resolution by 1.7X.  The LSM 800 is a high resolution confocal with “Super-Resolution” performance.  Zen software is used for acquisition and analysis.
  • Leica SP5 II scanning confocal microscope (laser lines 405, 458, 476, 488, 496, 514, 543 and 633nm) is equipped with a DMI 6000 inverted microscope with a motorized stage, a temperature control chamber and CO2 control system, this system is ideal for live imaging experiments as well as basic confocal applications. 

Fluorescent microscopy:

  • Olympus IX70 inverted reflected light fluorescent microscope with 5x, 10x, 40x, 60x objectives, features blue(EX=470-490nm), green(EX=530-550nm), red(540-650nm) fluorescent cube turrets. The scope uses a DP80 Dual Color-Mono Camera with Cell Sense acquisition software and Metamorph software for analysis.

Electron microscopy:

  • Hitachi S-3000 scanning electron microscope with secondary and backscatter electron detectors is equipped with a large chamber area, low-vacuum viewing mode and a cold stage option.  Core laboratory staff offer specimen processing for EM samples.
  • Hitachi H-7000 transmission electron microscope, complete with scanning TEM (STEM), small sample SEM capabilities, and fitted with an AMT digital camera system.

Imaging systems:

  • LiCor Odyssey imaging system with near infrared fluorescence for greater signal sensitivity and reduced auto-fluorescence (700 and 800 nM).  The Odyssey can accommodate blots, gels, culture dishes, multi-well plates and tissue sections.  Double-labeled samples can be used and the high signal-to-noise ratio allows images to be calibrated to the pico-gram range.
  • Syngene G: Box Chemi XT chemiluminescence imaging system equipped with a 4.2 megapixel, cooled (-28°C absolute and regulated) CCD camera and 16 bit A/D, providing a contrast of over 65,000 grey levels.  The system is equipped for capturing and analyzing luminescent, fluorescent (trans-illuminated UV or epi-illuminated blue, green, red and near-IR) or bright-field images from a variety of materials, including Western blots, DNA gels, culture dishes or multi-well plates. 
  • IVIS Lumina II is a highly sensitive, low light-level system specifically designed to non-invasively observe and quantify the progression of physiological events (such as tumor growth, infection, nerve regeneration) at multiple time points within the same subject.  The system features a highly sensitive, cooled (-90°C) CCD camera to detect low-level light emissions from luciferase-tagged cells and is also equipped with a xenon lamp and filter sets for GFP, DsRed, CY5.5 and ICG for in-vivo fluorescence studies. 

Real time PCR:

  • Life Technologies Quant Studio 3 real time PCR instrument offers a 96 well, 0.2ml platform can analyze 4 targets in one plate.  The instrument offers 6 temperature zones for experiment optimization. 
  • Life Technologies Step One Plus real time PCR.  The core offers a Step One Plus instrument with a 96 well, 0.2ml platform.  This instrument offers 6 temperature zones. 

Other equipment:

  • BioTek Synergy HTX Multi-Mode Microplate Reader accomodates 6- to 384-well microplates, to detect absorbance and fluorescence using a unique dual-optics design for superior performance. Absorbance detection optics uses a xenon flash lamp and monochromator for filter-free wavelength selection from 200 to 999 nm in 1 nm increments. Fluorescence detection is via a tungsten halogen lamp with interference filters in conjunction with a PMT detector for maximum sensitivity.
  • Agilent Seahorse XFp measures the flux of oxygen, the oxygen consumption rate [OCR], proton flux, extracellular acidification rate. [ECAR].  Seahorse XF instruments measures these two energy pathways simultaneously in an 8 well miniplate format.
  • ThermoScientific HM525 NX Cryostat with intuitive software and touchscreen for simple, efficient operation enables sectioning from 1µm to 500µm with cryochamber cooling to -35°C and a fast freezing to -57°C ± 3°C. 

The Research Imaging Facility also offers all necessary support features for electron microscopy sample preparation, and negative and film processing. A high-resolution scanner is available for digitizing prints and negatives. Support personnel oversee the daily operation of the facility and are available for training, technical support, protocol development and contractual research projects.

Current Pricing Information

Grant Summary Information



Wei Du
Researcher IV, Research Core Laboratory
Phone: 217-545-7604


Melissa Roberts
Assistant Director, Research Core Laboratory
Phone: 217-545-7186