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Advanced 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 but many researchers have received minimal training in the theory and use of microscopes in their undergraduate studies.

Following on from the introductory two day course, this advanced three day course will cover some of the more advanced aspects of imaging and will give students a sound grounding in advanced microscopical techniques and image analysis.

This course is aimed at:

  • students who attended the introductory course and now want to learn more, or
  • students with a good grounding in imaging who would like to develop specific advanced skills
The three days will consist of:
  • a one day lecture/seminar session on
    • confocal microscopy
    • fluorescent dyes and indicators
    • advances in fluorescent proteins
    • the four letter F words (FRET, FRAP, FLIP & FLIM)
    • image processing and analysis
    • multiphoton microscopy
    • Second Harmonic Imaging techniques

There will be the opportunity to image students' own samples and to try new techniques on their preparations.

  • The remaining time will be spent in hands-on workshops of 2-3 people learning to use these imaging techniques on a variety of different tissues.
    • Students will be able to learn to label live cells with dyes or genes using a variety of techniques including electroporation and the use of a Gene Gun
    • Conventional confocal microscopy for real-time calcium imaging and time-lapse confocal microscopy of embryo development
    • More advanced techniques such as FRAP (Fluorescence Recovery After Photo-bleaching) and FRET (Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer) will also be covered
    • Basic image analysis will include:
      • scaling of images
      • image enhancement
      • thresh-holding
      • segmentation
      • aerial measurements (area, length etc of objects)
      • densitometry This will go on to explore volume rendering applications for 3D data sets – students are welcome to bring their own data sets along to work with.

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/

"Extremely useful, helpful and fun."

"I would highly recommend this course to anyone with some background in confocal microscopy. It gives a unique oppurtunity to increase the knowledge of techniques you are already using, and also to acquire new skills and get useful tips from people who are expert in this field."

"Lots of fun and very hands on - a great way of gaining insight into some cool techniques whilst boosting microscopy confidence in general."

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