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Introduction to Microscopy and Confocal Microscopy

Course Description

Imaging of biological samples and of live cells and tissues in research projects has grown enormously over the past decade or so. However, most researchers have very little or no training in the theory and use of microscopes in their undergraduate studies. The introductory two day course is designed to give students the ability to set-up and use a basic compound and fluorescence microscope and achieve an understanding of the theory and practice of microscopy.

Day 1 will consist of a lecture/seminar session. Students will learn the basics of:

  • microscopy
  • fluorescence
  • imaging

This will be followed by hands-on training of how to set up a compound fluorescence microscope for Koehler illumination, Phase, interference contrast and mercury lamp alignment.

Day 2 will be hands-on basics of confocal microscopy and associated techniques. Students will learn to:

  • optimise the dynamic range of their images
  • prevent bleed through of signal from multiple fluorophores
  • make optical section series though a tissue
  • create 3D projections of the data and movies of rotations of data sets.

If time allows they will be able to image their own specimens and try to solve any problems they may be having with imaging. A further advanced course is also available: Advanced Microscopy and Confocal Microscopy

Please note: this course is no longer delivered via the DSDP. From September 2015 all discipline-specific courses have been moved to UCL departments. Please contact your faculty to enquire about internally run sessions.

The contact lists are available at the bottom of the Essential Information page here: http://www.grad.ucl.ac.uk/essinfo/

"Brilliant course"

"Excellent, the must for anyone who are using/planning to use imaging techniques. Highly enjoyable as well!"

"Very good introductory course, the lecturers are very accesible and really master the topic."

"This is a great and useful course on Microscopy! Very well explained and during the workshop you can actually spend some time on microscopes, including the confocal. The best course I took so far!!!"

Researcher Development Framework Categories

A1) Knowledge base

Course Recommended for

This course is particularly relevant to the following groups:

  • 1st Year Research Students
  • 2nd Year Research Students
  • 3rd Year Research Students
  • 4th Year Research Students

Course Organisers

  • Course Director - Prof David Becker - (Cell and Developmental Biology)
  • Administrator - Ms Kasia Bronk - (Organisational Development)

Further Web Resources

Further Reading

  • B.Herman RMS, Fluorescence Microscopy, 2nd Ed
  • Lippincott-Schwartz J & Patterson G., Science 300 (pgs 87-91), 2003
  • North, A.J., J.Cell. Biol. (pgs 172, 9-18), 2006
  • Shaner, N.C. et al, Nature Methods (pgs 2, 905-909), 2005


Registration information will be available in due course.

Page last updated: 23rd April 2015