Setting Up and Running an Advanced Light Microscopy and Imaging Facility

Carlos Sánchez1, Ma Ángeles Muñoz1, Maite Villalba1, Verónica Labrador1, F. Javier Díez‐Guerra2

1 Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CSIC‐UAM), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 2 Departamento de Biología Molecular. Facultad de Ciencias (UAM), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Cytometry
Unit Number:  Unit 12.22
DOI:  10.1002/0471142956.cy1222s57
Online Posting Date:  July, 2011
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During the last twenty years, interest in light microscopy and imaging techniques has grown in various fields, such as molecular and cellular biology, developmental biology, and neurobiology. In addition, the number of scientific articles and journals using these techniques is rapidly increasing. Nowadays, most research institutions require sophisticated microscopy systems to cover their investigation demands. In general, such instruments are too expensive and complex to be purchased and managed by a single laboratory or research group, so they have to be shared with other groups and supervised by specialized personnel. This is the reason why microscopy and imaging facilities are becoming so important at research institutions nowadays. In this unit, we have gathered and presented a number of issues and considerations from our own experience that we hope will be helpful when planning or setting up a new facility. Curr. Protoc. Cytom. 57:12.22.1‐12.22.21. © 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: fluorescence; microscopy; confocal; facility

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Design: First Steps
  • Equipment
  • Specialized Staff
  • Management
  • User Training
  • Concluding Remarks
  • Acknowledgements
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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  •   FigureFigure 12.22.1 Distribution of instruments. This is the distribution of one multiphoton and two confocal systems in one of the author's facility rooms. Each room accommodates one instrument and is isolated from the corridor by screens and black sliding curtains. They should have space for microscopes (Micro), visible (VIS) and infrared (IR) laser racks, computers, and some comfortable chairs. Adjustable lights are recommended. Additionally, CO2/carbogen, compressed air and hot air exits, as well as ethernet and electrical sockets might be needed.
  •   FigureFigure 12.22.2 A good and practical Web site, including a Web‐based equipment scheduling database, is very helpful for the facility performance. In ours, we include information about microscopy, imaging, protocols and reagents; information about events (workshops, seminars, courses, etc.) and news; and information about the facility (available equipment, guides, article references, useful links, booking, etc.).
  •   FigureFigure 12.22.3 Facility statistics. A complete register of the instrument's use allows recovering very valuable information to improve the facility. Here, we show some examples: use of instruments per research areas, per years, and per laboratories/users.
  •   FigureFigure 12.22.4 Basic guidelines. Apart from quick user guides, we would recommend placing some posters close to the instruments with instructions about switching on/off, configuration, features, and basic care, which can be easily accessed in the absence of the technical staff.


Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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