Central Microscopy Facility (CMF)

Confocal image of squid, Doryteuthis pealeii, embryo stained for for F-actin (green; phalloidin), Acetylated tubulin (red), Beta-catenin (yellow), and DAPI (blue; nuclei).
Confocal image of squid, Doryteuthis pealeii, embryo stained for for F-actin (green; phalloidin), Acetylated tubulin (red), Beta-catenin (yellow), and DAPI (blue; nuclei). Credit: Juliana Roscito

In addition to serving MBL resident researchers, the CMF is a fee-for-use facility designed to provide researchers, regional industry, and academic partners access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and expertise. The CMF provides access, training and assistance with a wide array of high-end imaging systems, as well as powerful computer workstations for image post-processing.

ThermoFisher Helios 5 Hydra PFIB-SEM and Leica Stellaris 8 STED microscope have arrived!

PFIB SEM with the Helios 5 Hydra DualBeam microscope
Helios 5 Hydra DualBeam. Courtesy: ThermoFisher

Imagine being able to reconstruct a sample in 3D on a SEM! With the generous support of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), the MBL has acquired a ThermoFisher Helios 5 Hydra PFIB-SEM (plasma focused ion beam-scanning electron microscope) with cryo stage and Oxford EDS/EBSD and a Leica Stellaris 8 STED confocal super resolution microscope to enable correlative microscopy capabilities. These advanced imaging capabilities are now available to provide new views and better resolution of biological and material samples.

Read Full Press Release Sign up for updates and start planning for use in Summer/Fall 2024!

Light Microscopy (including confocal and lightsheet)

State-of-the-art optical microscopy equipment for techniques such as phase, darkfield, fluorescence, polarization, DIC, confocal and lightsheet are available. See the CMF Equipment page for detailed information on the specific microscopes. All instruments are equipped with digital cameras and PC based operating software. Various vendors provide seasonal loan of instruments and accessories.

Electron Microscopy 

Services are based on a JEOL 200CX transmission electron microscope and a Zeiss Supra40VP scanning electron microscope (with array tomography system, cryo stage and EDS/EBSD analysis system), supported by preparative and ancillary equipment such as ultramicrotomes, sputter coaters, etc. A Leica ICE high pressure freezer is available. 

Image Processing

Our Image Analysis Lab provides high-performance computer workstations with commercial software such as Imaris, Aivia, Arivis, and MATLAB.

Sample Preparation

Wide-ranging preparative equipment is available including several microtomes - a cryostat, paraffin microtomes, a vibratome and ultramicrotomes. The facility also provides liquid nitrogen for purchase. 

Service and Training

We provide consultation on appropriate experimental design, technical instruction, and operational assistance for our instruments. This may be useful to individuals planning a project but who have limited knowledge of the appropriate technique.

For general CMF inquiries:

Email: microscopy@mbl.edu

For a complete list of services and prices, and to inquire about requests for specific instrumentation contact:
Louie Kerr
Director, Imaging Services; Staff Scientist 
Tel: (508) 289-7273
E-mail: lkerr@mbl.edu