Grant Resources

BioImaging Core Facilities

There are two bioimaging core facilities in the College of Medicine operating on a fee-for service basis: one in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB) on the main campus and one at the Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI).

BioImaging Core Facility at the Medical Sciences Building:

  1. Nikon A1R spectral confocal microscope: Procured in 2010, this system has become the primary imaging tool for multi-fluorophore and spectral applications in live cell and tissue preparations. This system has four laser lines, a 32-bin spectral detector and NIS Elements acquisition/analysis software. This system is capable of 4D (x,y,z,t) time lapse and 5D (x,y,z,λ,t) spectral time lapse imaging in live-cell and tissue studies. 

  2. Andor WD Revolution spinning disk confocal microscope: This dual camera system allows deep penetration for thick tissue preparations (>300 µm) and multi-channel live cell/tissue imaging. It is now the primary system for imaging fast Ca2+ dynamics in cells and tissues. A hyperspectral module is currently being implemented to allow high speed scans of the excitation spectrum (rather than the emission spectrum).

  3. Zeiss LSM 980 Airyscan2 spectral confocal microscope: Following an NIH S10 instrument grant (S10OD028606, Rich PI) a Zeiss LSM 980 Airyscan2 spectral confocal microscope was purchased recently and installed in December 2020. This system features Airyscan2, high sensitivity emission scan spectral image acquisition via an array of 32

    GaAsP detectors, an environmental chamber, and a wide range of quantitative image analysis software. Airyscan2 dramatically increases the sensitivity of the imaging system, allowing extended time lapse imaging of cells and tissues with minimal photobleaching or photodamage. Airyscan2 also allows enhanced/super resolution imaging of live cell preparations. The use of 32 GaAsP detectors in the spectral detector allows a marked increase in the sensitivity of spectral detection, discrimination, which we anticipate will lead to a ~5-fold decrease in scan time.

  4. Computer workstations: Three dedicated computers are available for image analysis and mathematical modeling. Analysis software includes Zeiss Zen, NIS Elements, Matlab, Image J, and S8.

  5. Other instrumentation in the core: MMI laser capture microdissection system and Photon Technology International QuantaMaster 40 spectrofluorimeter.

BioImaging Core Facility at the Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama:

  1. Nikon A1rsi with TIRF and N-STORM: a fully-featured laser scanning spectral confocal microscope system with seven laser lines (355, 405, 441, 488, 514, 561, 647 nm), 32-bin spectral detector with variable bin size, Bruker XY Mini-scanner for UV laser applications, Tokai-Hit stage-top incubator for live-cell imaging, anti-vibration table, and featuring TIRF and N-STORM modules for super-resolution imaging. STORM (Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy) is a single-molecule super-resolution technique allowing for lateral resolutions of ~35 nm. NIS Elements software is used for control, image acquisition, and extension/customization of the system. Extensions include the MIDAS laser microirradiation system for inducing and studying DNA damage.

  2. The Nikon A1r resonant laser scanning confocal microscope: This has four laser lines (405, 488, 561, 647 nm), two high-sensitivity GaAsP detectors, Tokai-Hit stage-top incubator for live-cell imaging, and anti-vibration table. GaAsP detectors provide improved signal-to-noise over standard PMT detectors, reducing photobleaching, improving sensitivity, and allowing for extended live imaging. NIS Elements software is used for control, image acquisition, and extension/customization of the system. Extensions include the MIDAS laser micro-irradiation system.

  3. Nikon N-SIM Structured Illumination Super-Resolution Microscope: this utilizes structured illumination to resolve structures below the traditional diffraction limit of light microscopes (maximum lateral resolution ~100 nm). The system is equipped with two laser lines for SIM imaging (488 and 561 nm), light source and filters for epi-fluorescence imaging, automated stage, and features multiple SIM modalities, including 2D SIM, 3D SIM, and TIRFSIM. NIS Elements software is used for control, image acquisition, and image processing.

  4. Nikon TE-2000E automated wide-field epi-fluorescence microscope: This features a computer-controlled automated microscope base, Pathology Devices stage-top incubator for live-cell imaging, Prior automated stage, external emission and excitation filter wheels for FRET imaging, and an anti-vibration table. NIS Elements software is used for control and image acquisition.

  5. MMI Cell Cut Plus laser micro-dissection microscope system: this features an integrated touch-screen monitor, automated stage, 355 nm cutting laser, dedicated software and computer-controlled sample retrieval for precision micro-dissection of prepared tissue slides.

  6. Computer workstations: Three dedicated analysis computers are available at MCI for image analysis. Available software includes NIS Elements, Zeiss Zen, ImageJ/FIJI, and MIDAS.