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Microscope Training

New microscope users must attend a compulsory 2-hour introductory training session before being given access to a microscope on the booking system. Up to three trainees can be accommodated per session.This basic training will be provided using a standard specimen provided by the light microscopy group. In addition, if you need to use advanced microscopy techniques as part of your project you must attend a compulsory supervised advanced training session in which your own specimen will be used to demonstrate the equipment and software tools necessary for your project. Even if you aren't doing anything very advanced it would be worth booking one of these sessions; especially if you're new to microscopy or unfamiliar with the instruments.

Anyone who has not been trained on a particular microscope or analysis computer must be directly supervised by someone who has been trained until they receive training themselves. Please note that undergraduates, M.Sc students and other students who need access to the LMCB microscopes or image analysis computers for 2 months or less will not be eligible for training and instead must be directly supervised throughout that period.

How do I book training?

All training must be booked through the LMCB light microscopy email: lmcb-lm-help@ucl.ac.uk

Once an introductory or advanced training session has been booked it will be entered on the Microscope Training Calendar. If there is already a training session scheduled you can join that session provided it isn’t already fully subscribed but please email the address above to let us know you will be attending. Once you have received introductory training on a microscope you will be given access to the Faces Scheduling System where you will be able to book any microscope you've been trained on. You will also be entered onto the lmcb-lm-users@ucl.ac.uk mailing list, which microscope users can use to communicate with one another. Unless you will be doing nothing more advanced than imaging fixed slides it is highly likely that you will then have to attend an advanced training session using your own specimen.

Introductory Training

What will I learn?

In the introductory training sessions you will be taught the basics of microscope operation, such as:

  • How to turn on the microscope and associated instruments
  • How to focus on your cells using fluorescence or transmitted light techniques*
  • How to take single and multi-channel images
  • How to apply colour look-up tables (LUTs) to greyscale images and merge fluorescent channels
  • How to calibrate the dimensions of images
  • How to save or export image data
  • Cleaning lenses and basic cleanliness
  • How to switch the devices off

*Note that the transmitted light technique Differential Interference Contrast (DIC or Nomarski Contrast) is available on the confocal microscopes but is taught in advanced sessions rather than introductory training

Additionally in the confocal introductory sessions you will learn:

  • The basics of optical sectioning using confocal microscopy
  • How to do Z stacks
  • How to set up laser, detector and scan configurations
  • How to save and recall those settings

In the time-lapse introductory sessions you will learn:

  • How to calibrate the motorised stage
  • How to set up a multi-well plate specimen for imaging at 37 degrees C in a CO2 atmosphere
  • How to use the other available specimen inserts
  • How to set up single and multi-point acquisitions with or without auto-focus

Advanced Training

Advanced microscope training is compulsory for anyone wanting to carry out the techniques below but can be requested by anyone who wants further training after the introductory session. You will need an advanced session if you are doing any of the following techniques:

  • Differential Interference Contrast (DIC aka. Nomarski Contrast) on confocal microscopes
  • Imaging of samples in non-standard or home-built specimen holders
  • Live imaging of any kind
  • Photo-bleaching, photo-activation and photo-conversion techniques (e.g. FRAP, FLIP, etc)
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)
  • Techniques requiring the use of a motorised stage (e.g. multi-position time-lapse, tiling/stitching)

Advanced training will consist of a session where you will operate the microscope with one of your own specimens under the supervision of a member of the light microscopy facility. It is likely that some specimens (live specimens in particular) will require specific stage adapters and environmental conditions so please give details of the specimen to the staff member who will be supervising you so that the necessary arrangements can be made. It is also important that you check with the light microscopy facility to find out whether your particular procedure or specimen can be accommodated using the current equipment in the facility.

Image Processing Training

At the moment there is no 'introductory training' for software or image processing. This could be introduced in the near future but until then all image processing training is provided on request and will be tailored to the specific application. Please contact lmcb-lm-help@ucl.ac.uk to request training.

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