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Department of Biosciences

Welcome

The Microscopy and Bioimaging research and teaching facility in Biosciences is available for use by staff, postgraduate students and final year undergraduate students. It is also available for use by researchers within other University departments and for commercial clients. State-of-the-art instrumentation for projects requiring widefield and advanced light microscopy (LSCM / SDCM / TIRF), electron microscopy (SEM / TEM), and histology is available. The staff of the facility will be pleased to give advice on sample preparation and the most appropriate instrumentation to use for a given application. The facility operates on a fee for-use basis for each microscope to cover the cost of the instrument maintenance contract, the consumable supplies directly associated with the instrument, and the labour costs associated with daily maintenance. Charges will be made for SEO or technician time where appropriate and for specimen preparation. If you are applying for research grants we can advise on the charges which are likely to be made over a three-year period. Comprehensive training in the use of the instrumentation is provided. Periodically training courses will be run and will be advertised via departmental email. Self access to preparative facilities is encouraged.
If you require to use any of the equipment in the facility or require help from the facility staff members, please kindly plan ahead. We try our best to answer technical questions on the spot, but users will get our undivided attention if an appointment is made in advance, especially questions regarding experimental designs, potential collaboration, and advanced image analysis.

Microscopy & Bioimaging: Electron Microscopy

Introduction to the Facility

We have a unique EM facility offering a broad range of techniques that can answer many biological (and other) questions.

Conventional TEM is generally straightforward and can give new insight into the effects of chemicals, drugs and mutations at the molecular, cell and tissue levels. Immuno-gold TEM is now established in the facility and is a natural, but underused progression, from the immuno-fluorescence and confocal microscopy that many of you do. This of course will directly tell you exactly where in a cell your antigen is within a few nanometers. Double labelling can also be done. TEM can also be used to study the structure and conformation of isolated proteins and complexes. 3D information can be gained by EM tomography and other methods.

We also have the highest resolution SEM in the world, unique to a biology department in the UK. This will give you sub-nanometre resolution images of surfaces. We can also do immuno-gold labelling to locate antigens. Because these instruments are rare, there are not many examples of their use in biology, so people often overlook the possibility. Because of this, it is often straightforward to obtain unique insights into the processes being studied which can be instrumental in achieving publication in high impact journals. It is a versatile technique that has been used to look at the surface structure of molecular complexes, organelles, culture cells, tissue and whole organisms. Samples can also be examined frozen, so that fixation is not always necessary.

Both EMs are straightforward to use and are routinely operated by undergraduate project students.

Microscopy & Bioimaging: Advanced Light Microscopy

Introduction to the Facility

The state of the art Bioimaging and Microscopy research and teaching facility in the Department of Biosciences is at the core of the Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology and houses an extensive selection of imaging modalities which are available for use by staff, postgraduate students and final year undergraduate students as well as other University departments and commercial clients. Advanced light microscopy technologies can address many scientific questions including localisation, nanoscopy, subcellular architecture, phenotyping, tracking, gene expression, changes in chemical environment, protein:protein interactions & membrane dynamics. The facility is managed by Dr Tim Hawkins, supported by Joanne Robson.

Imaging technologies available include Super-Resolution microscopy; Structured Illumination (3D-SIM) and localisation microscopy (PALM/STORM), Confocal Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy (CLSM), Spinning Disk Confocal Laser Microscopy (SDCLM), Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM), Deconvolution Microscopy, Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) and Fluorescence Cross Correlation Spectroscopy (FCCS). In addition to these the facility also has a range of widefield and stereo microscopes and microinjection equipment. Following an introduction to all imaging modalities and facilities available, users receive a focussed one to one training session on the modality or modalities which they require for their research program. Sessions contain theory, instrument running, code of practice/best practice and full acquisition support. Users can then use the systems alone but full support is provided when necessary. Facility staff will also advise on choice of imaging modality best suited to the biological question to be studied as well as help with experimental design. Services include, imaging of researcher supplied samples and sample preparation, in particular for SRM.

Working with us

The facility team are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about imaging technologies and will support researchers with all their imaging requirements. Staff will also provide guidance in choice of imaging modality and experimental design. We love a challenge and enjoy applying combinations of modalities to probe novel systems and samples.

Training

New research staff / users receive a facility induction session where they will be given an introduction to all of the imaging modalities and facilities available. Following this the user will then receive a focussed one to one training session on the modality or modalities which they require for their research program. This session will contain theory, instrument operation, code of practice/best practice and full acquisition support. Users can then use the systems alone but full support is provided when necessary. Facility staff will also advise on choice of imaging modality best suited to the biological question to be studied as well as help with experimental design to ensure a productive and efficient imaging session. Services include, imaging of researcher supplied samples and sample preparation, in particular for SRM. Durham postgraduate students also can attend an Advanced Light Microscopy seminar providing an overview of the imaging technologies available and importantly the theory behind them. On completion of a training session the new user will be provided with a summary document detailing key points for the safe usage of the equipment and the settings required for image capture.

Services

Facility staff will provide guidance in choice of imaging modality and experimental design. Services are available for both internal researchers, other universities and commercial partners and include, imaging of researcher supplied samples and sample preparation, in particular for SRM. The facility provides a range of flexible service packages for external collaborators consisting of programme design, sample preparation, full sample imaging and data analysis. For service packages in addition to system access charges, charges will be made for SEO or technician time where appropriate

Collaborative research (working within Research Institutes, (Interdisciplinary), links with Academics, joint funding)

The SBBS Bioimaging and microscopy core facility is at the heart of the Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology and work closely groups from (DCCIT) and the (BSI). The facility has a interdisciplinary user base with, in addition to biologists, users from chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering and external partners.

Microscopy & Bioimaging Facility Staff

Mrs Christine Richardson

Electron Microscopy Facility Manager

a.c.richardson@durham.ac.uk

Ms Helen Grindley

Electron Microscopy Technician

helen.grindley@durham.ac.uk

Dr Tim Hawkins

Advanced Light Microscopy Facility Manager

Deputy Director DCBT (technical operations & administration)

t.j.hawkins@durham.ac.uk

Profile Page

Miss Joanne Robson

Light Microscopy Technician

j.l.robson@durham.ac.uk

Academic Leads

Professor Patrick Hussey

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Science)

Director Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology (DCBT)

Dr Martin Goldberg

Head of Microscopy

m.w.goldberg@durham.ac.uk

To discuss research projects requiring all forms of microscopy please email or telephone

Dr Tim Hawkins

Advanced Light Microscopy Facility manager

t.j.hawkins@durham.ac.uk

Tel: 0191-334-1333

Mrs Christine Richardson

Electron Microscopy Facility Manager

a.c.richardson@durham.ac.uk

Tel: 0191-334-1285

or email microscopy.unit@durham.ac.uk

Address:

Department of Biosciences

Durham University

Stockton Road

Durham

DH1 3LE

Contact the Analytical Services Co-ordinator, Dr. Pamela Robinson (0191 334 4646) to arrange contracts or for information about other services that Durham University has to offer.

Before booking any instrument please consider the Microscopy & Bioimaging Code of Practise

Book a microscope