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BioFrontiers Advanced Imaging Resource

Welcome to the BioFrontiers Advanced Imaging Resource, a user facility designed to advance biological discovery through quantitative microscopy techniques.

Arbitrary pixel sizes in laser scanning microscopes permit low-magnification (40x), yet high-resolution (approximately 200 nm), imaging.
The low signal levels that result from biologically important processes, as well as the highly dynamic nature of these processes (millisecond timescales), necessitates the use of versatile, reconfigurable, high-speed, and high-sensitivity microscope platforms.

Several microscopes within the facility meet these rigorous demands. For example, the Nikon  A1R resonant scanning confocal system is capable of imaging at 420 frames per second, easily capturing the fastest biological events (neurotransmission, calcium signaling, etc.).  Additionally, it provides the capability of ultra-sensitive total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) illumination with single molecule imaging and time-resolution on the order of 10's of milliseconds.  Using specific fluorophores also enables super-resolution imaging with 10's of nanometer resolution (10x improvement).

Other capabilities include long-term imaging, enabled by high-end autofocusing technology, combined with an adjustable temperature, humidity, and a carbon dioxide environment, permits continuous imaging of several populations of cells, for up to 72 hours.

Discovery based techniques, including high-content imaging of pharmacological perturbations or RNAi based screens, can also be carried out in 96 or 384-well plates. With experience in automation of image acquisition, as well as automated image analysis, vast improvements in productivity can be accomplished for many of the microscopes within the JSCBB microscopy core.


The following techniques are available for use:

  • Multiphoton Excitation in an upright microscope for in vivo imaging
  • Confocal Imaging with 4 Detectors and 6 Excitation Lasers
  • Widefield Fluorescence Imaging
  • Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) Microscopy
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)
  • Calcium Imaging
  • Long-Term Imaging with Temperature, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, and Humidity Control.
  • Sub-Diffraction Super-Resolution Imaging
  • Differential Interference Contrast Microscopy
  • Photoactivation
  • Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching
  • High-Content Screening
  • Volumetric Imaging


More detailed information regarding the microscopes available can be found within the User Resources section.