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NRI-MCDB Microscopy Facility

Founded in 1990, is jointly maintained by the Neuroscience Research 
Institute and the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental 
Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Facility’s 
mission is to promote and facilitate research necessitating microscopy. 
To achieve this mission the Facility houses state-of-the-art 
instruments, supports expert full-time support staff and provides 
individual, course and workshop based training in microscopy.


  1. Hercules Computer Workstations 1 and 2

    These 2 computer workstation runs current Imaris software with the Imaris Measurement Pro, Filament Tracer, Cell, Colocalization, Track, Vanage and XT modules. They both also have Fiji (ImageJ). Hercules 2 has Zeiss Zen, Leica LASX, and Huygens deconvolution software.

  2. Leica Cryostat

    This Leica Cryostat CM1850 is designed to cut thin sections (5-50 microns) of frozen material. The system is routinely cooled to -20 ºC.

  3. Leica Vibratome

    The Leica VT1000S vibratome is designed to cut sections (50 microns and up) of fresh material or fixed material.

  4. Lightsheet Microscope

    This lightsheet microscope is fully equipped and can be used for fast imaging of samples with a lot of 3-dimensional depth. Most commonly used for imaging embryo development, and other multicellular organisms live or fixed.

  5. Nanolive 3D Cell Explorer

    The Nanolive 3D Cell Explorer is a novel new instrument that uses holographic tomography to generate a three-dimensional image of the sample with contrast determined by refractive index.

  6. Olympus BX51 Polarizing Stage Upright Compound Microscope

    This upright BX51 compound microscope is equipped with a circular polarizing stage, DIC optics and fluorescence. The camera systems are changed depending on application.

  7. Olympus BX60 Upright Compound Microscope

    The Olympus BX60 Microscope an Upright Compound Microscope with DIC optics, fluorescence and Optronics color camera. This microscope is equipped with a 4, 10, 20 & 40X dry objectives and a 100X oil objective.

  8. Olympus Fluoview 1000 Spectral Confocal

    This system is an inverted Olympus IX81 confocal microscope equipped with 6 laser lines for excitation, spectral detectors and environmental control.

  9. Olympus IX81 Inverted Compound Microscope

    This Olympus inverted compound microscope is equipped with high quality objectives, fluorescence and a Qimaging scientific CMOS camera allowing high frame rates even in low light conditions. The filters, objectives, and z-position are all motorized for automated image collection. This is a great system if you want to: automate image collection of multiple flurophores, collect images over a long time-lapse, or do non-confocal z-stacks.

  10. Olympus SZX12 Stereomicroscope

    The Olympus SZX12 stereomicroscope is used for tissue preparation and documentation of samples at lower magnifications. The microscope has a transmitted base and reflected light illumination options.

  11. Resonant Scanning Confocal

    The new fast resonant scanning Leica SP8 confocal microscope is a high-tech powerhouse. The resonant scanning unit allows confocal images at 28 frames per second full-frame, and faster for smaller images. It is equipped with a cryo-incubator stage allowing stable temperature control from -2°C to 50°C enabling live real-time long time-lapse imaging. The HyD detectors have increased sensitivity and a special cooled HyD detector enables FCS (Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy) experiments.

  12. STED Super Resolution Microscope

    This microscope uses Stimulated Emission Depletion to capture super resolution images with as fine of resolution as 20-30 nm.

  13. Transmission Electron Microscope, JEOL 1230

    The JEOL JEM-1230 is a high performance, high contrast, 40-120kV transmission electron microscope with excellent imaging capabilities suitable for biological and materials science applications.

  14. Zeiss Axiovert 200M

    Inverted motorized compound microscope with phase optics, fluorescence, and CCD camera.