Core Policies

Scheduling and Billing

Once training has been completed, the User can schedule use on that particular instrument independently (sign-up calendars available at all hours). Time on all instruments is allocated by a first come, first-served basis. However, because the Nikon A1 and Andor Revolution systems were acquired and implemented through NIH support, NIH-funded investigators will be given priority use when necessary.

1. All users are expected to keep use time at ≤ 5 hrs/day, and in single continuous sessions where possible.

2. All reservations should be made using the Google calendar, even when usage will occur between 5 pm and 7 am.

3. Cancellations should be made by deleting the appointment on the Google calendar as soon as possible and before the scheduled appointment. No-shows will be charged for one hr of use.

4. Extended experiments, including time-lapse sampling in excess of 5 hrs should be scheduled overnight or during weekends. Reduced rates are applied beyond 5 hrs of continuous use (i.e. time-lapse). Weekend use will only be available to certain expert users as determined by the Imaging Specialist and Director.

5. Sign in and out of the log book next to the microscope, adding User name and the name of the Principal Investigator directing the research. This is important for billing and in the case where actual usage time differs from reserved time.

6. Use is billed by monthly invoice either to USA Departments or to external contacts. Rates may be adjusted annually to match projected costs and anticipated use.

7. Use time will be logged and charged in half-hour increments. Users may opt for unassisted or assisted use. In unassisted use, the User conducts all aspects of preparation, imaging and data acquisition independently whereas in assisted use, the Imaging Specialist is available to aid or advise the User over the course of the session (additional fee applies).

8. Use of the Image Analysis Suite is free of charge for internal Users; external Users may gain access for a fee negotiated with the facility Director.



All faculty and associated lab personnel within the University of South Alabama are eligible to use the facility. These individuals are designated Internal Users. Persons outside the University of South Alabama system are designated External Users. This includes individuals from other universities, research institutions or commercial entities. Acceptance of external applicants is at the discretion of the Director.


Becoming A User

In order to be designated a User of the facility, an individual must complete initial training and fill out and submit a user information form to the Imaging Specialist or Director. These forms are available within the Bioimaging Facility, through the webpage, or via email ( Each person applying to be a User must designate a Department affiliation (internal) or provide current billing information (external). Once approved, the User can schedule an appointment with the Imaging Specialist for training on one or more systems (initial training up to 2 hrs will be billed at the assisted user rate). A User can only use instruments he or she has been trained on; operation of any imaging system by a person who has not been officially trained to use that specific equipment is prohibited.


Responsibilities Of Users

Because the USA Bioimaging Facility is a shared-use facility, users are asked to maintain a standard of practice that avoids damage to equipment, minimizes risk, and provides a clean and functional workspace for everyone. This includes following instructions and posted directions, reporting any problems or mishaps encountered, and leaving the workspace clean and free of clutter for the next User. Policies relevant to specific individual systems may apply.