Light microscopy


Leica TCS SP5 confocal microscope


Light microscopy is of critical importance in cell biology. The MRC LMCB Light Microscopy Facility is provided as a service to researchers, with light microscopy staff members maintaining the microscopes, training users, providing hands-on help and instruction in microscope techniques and investigating developments in microscope methods and technology. Light microscopy staff members will also contribute directly to research by assisting in experimental strategy and design, and by devising and carrying out procedures that require expert skills.

Microscopes and image analysis software

The light microscopes in the MRC LMCB include eight confocal microscopes (including a
spinning disc confocal for live imaging); two time-lapse microscope
systems and one TIRF time-lapse, all with chambers for sample
environmental control; and five research fluorescence microscopes. A
full range of open-source and commercial image processing and analysis
software is supported.

Training, booking and other policies and resources

Staff members in the Light Microscopy Facility provide introductory and advanced training on both microscopes and imaging software. Please see the information below to see the local rules for microscope usage and to find out how to book training sessions and to see the facility's access and data policies. There is also a link to a calendar listing UK and worldwide courses and conferences in the field of light microscopy.

Light Microscopy Facility contact details

Please make any enquiries about training, help with projects or problems on machines using the following email address:

Alternatively you can contact the relevant member of facility staff directly. Please see the table below for details:

Staff Member Position Key Responsibilities Room Number Extension
Andrew Vaughan Facility Manager GFP1, GFP2, Vox and Radiance 1.13 37904
John Gallagher Light Microscopy Officer SPE, SPE2, SPE3 and SP5 G.13 32295
Kathrin Scherer Light Microscopy Officer Elyra, STED, N-STORM and Olympus FV1200 2.10 37274


UCL Super-Resolution Facility (SuRF)

The LMCB is home to the UCL Super-Resolution Facility, funded by the MRC Next Generation Optical Microscopy initiative. The LMCB facility consists of a microscope development lab, headed up by Ricardo Henriques and a general SuRF facility consisting of two commercially acquired super-resolution microscopes - a Leica Microsystems gSTED and a Carl Zeiss Elyra PS.1. To access the facility you must submit a project via the Facility Access link on the SuRF Homepage below:

SuRF Homepage



Fluorescent stains for actin (green), mitochondria (red) and the nucleus (blue). Actin is a component of the cytoskeleton, which controls cell shape and motion; mitochondria are sites of energy generation in cells; the nucleus contains the cell’s DNA


Myelin (violet) produced by Schwann cells coats nerve cell axons in the peripheral nervous system


A ray traced 3D reconstruction of microtubules forming part of the cytoskeleton