Byrd Microscopy Core

The Byrd Institute Microscopy Core serves the needs of research laboratories within the institute and affiliated laboratories. The Microscopy Core aims to provide powerful imaging tools to enable state-of-the-art research on neurological disorders and promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Byrd Microscopy Core is managed by Dr. Tian Liu, assistant professor of Molecular Medicine and Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

Equipment at the Microscopy Core include 9 optical microscope systems with overlapping and unique capabilities:

  • ZEISS LSM880

    Airyscan Confocal Microscope


    ZEISS LSM 880 (Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope) with Airyscan (1.7X improvement over diffraction limited imaging) provides super resolution imagining, quantitative imaging by linear scanner, imaging of weak fluorescence signals with high sensitivity in AirScan mode. This confocal laser scanning microscope offers high sensitivity, enhanced resolution in x, y and z, and high image-acquisition speed in one system. With airyscan function, it delivers a perfect optical section and superresolution with high sensitivity at 120 nm laterally and 350 nm axially in unique Fast mode speeds.

    This imaging system includes the following lasers: 355 nm, 405 nm (UV laser), 440 to 633 nm (VIS laser) and NIR laser, and with the combination of CO2 incubator and temperature control chamber, it can be used for multiple imaging experiments including live cell imaging, FRET and Anisotropy, FRAP and FLIP, FCS and Photoactivation / photoconversion.

  • Nikon A1R HD MP

    Multiphoton Confocal Microscope


    Nikon’s A1R HD MP, a multiphoton confocal system, features a fast, high resolution galvanometer scanner and an ultra-high speed resonant scanner that is capable of frame rates from 30 fps at 512 x 512 pixels to as fast as 420 fps with both 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution and a large field of view (FOV18), which enables the successful visualization of in vivo rapid changes, such as reactions in living organisms, dynamics and cell interactions.

    The multiphoton confocal system with near infrared (NIR) pulse lasers allows investigators to image tissues (i.e. brain) at a subcellular resolution in live animals and ex vivo tissues expressing optogenetic fluorescent proteins or with application of fluorescent probes using up to 5 channels (four-channel episcopic detector plus diascopic detector). 

  • JPK NanoWizard 4a AFM

    Atomic Force Microscope


    AFM, a type of scanning probe microscopy, provides very high resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, which is more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit. It can be used for imaging of single molecules, live cells, recombinant proteins (i.e. amyoid, tau), or tissues. Measurement outputs can also include elasticity, adhesion, chemical forces and molecular binding sites in physiological conditions. Advantages of using an AFM over TEM include: 

    1. Ease of image interpretation in raster 3D scanning mode (1,000,000X)
    2. Faster sample preparation time and scanning (5 min) with horizontal resolution of 0.2 nm and a vertical resolution of 0.05 nm
    3. Ability to function in a liquid environment at physiological conditions, in an air environment or in a vacuum on either conductive or insulating samples
  • Nikon C2 Ti-E

    Confocal Microscope


    Nikon C2 Ti-E confocal microscope is a state-of-the-art 4-laser confocal microscope with live-cell fluorescence imaging and ROI-based subcellular photoactivation capabilities with fully motorized XYZ, perfect focus, and fully motorized turret/filter-cubes/objectives on the Nikon Ti-E with cage incubator controlled by the NIS-Elements C software.

    Imaging methods such as confocal, wide field, TIRF, photo-activation, as well as processing, analysis and presentation of acquired images can be performed in one software package.

  • Nikon Ti-S

    Epifluorescence Microscope


    Nikon Ti-S microscope is a live-cell epifluorescence microscope (motorized XYZ only) with dual excitation (i.e. Fura-2), FRET, and everyday fluorescence capabilities on the Nikon Ti-S platform with stage incubator controlled by the NIS-Elements 3 software. It also can be used to capture both fluorescence images as well as phase contrast images without compromising on fluorescence transmission by using the revolutionary external phase contrast unit.

  • Olympus FluoView FV10i

    Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope


    Olympus FluoView FV10i, an all-in-one confocal system, is equipped with four lasers (405/473/559/635) and can be used for imaging up to four fluorescence dyes for multi-stained specimens. The fluorescent channels are equipped with the variable barrier filter function where the most suitable wavelength width is set automatically in accordance with the characteristics of the fluorescence dye. The FV10i is equipped with two sequential modes. Images can be acquired through line sequences without crosstalk in imaging with two fluorescence dyes, and with three or four dyes in frame sequences with the virtual channel function. The system provides objectives of 10x and 60x. Zoom magnification can be changed continually from 10x to 600x.

  • ZEISS Axio Scan.Z1

    Digital Slide Scanner


    ZEISS Axio Scan.Z1, a powerful slide scanner with superior ZEISS optics and automated features, is designed for high throughput brightfield and fluorescence imaging with a high volume quantitative image that is capable of scanning up to 100 whole slides. Images can be acquired using bright-field or captured up to 9 fluorescent channels using standard filter cubes. System resolutions are: 10x - 0.44 µm/pixel, 20x - 0.22 µm/pixel and 40x - 0.11 µm/pixel.

  • Zeiss AxioImager Z1

    Fluorescence Microscope


    This microscope, equipped with a Hamamatsu HRm camera and a color AxioCam MRc camera, is an upright, fully motorized, computer controlled high-performance research microscope capable of bright-field, DIC (Differential Interference Contrast) and Fluorescent Imaging by using multiple filter cubes for DAPI, CFP, GFP, YFP, Texas Red and CY5.


  • Leica DM4000 B

    Automated Microscope


    The Leica DM4000 B is an automated microscope for high-end and routine research applications. It comes with a coded 6x or 7x nosepiece, manual z-focus, and motorized fluorescence axis thus providing all basic transmitted-light contrasting methods (brightfield, darkfield, phase, polarization contrast – all fully automated).