Welcome - services available to center members

We are here to help you. The SWEHSC Cellular Imaging Facility Core brings decades worth of hands-on experience with light and electron microscopy, as well digital image manipulation, measurement, and analysis. We encourage members of SWEHSC-related labs to work with us to get the most our of their microscopy and imaging-related experiments.  If we don't know the answer right away, we will research the issue for you and work with the staff in the service labs to ensure that your experiment is a success.

Instruments, Service labs, Training, and more


These instruments are typically provided on a "train to use" basis, although SWEHSC labs can request operator assistance from the Cellular Imaging Facility Core on most of these instruments.


  • Confocal microscope - A multi-wavelength confocal is available with capabilities for live cell imaging and the capability for high-speed image capture.

    • Two inverted, multifuntion, motorized light microscopes with digital cameras suitable for greyscale and color imaging.  Imaging modes include brightfield, phase contrast, DIC, POL, and fluorescence (4 colors).
    • Two workstations with image acquisition and analysis software that can be used to measure digital images from any source.
    • Other available analysis software is geared to work with microscope slide scans or images of tissue in either color brightfield or fluorescence images, as well as tissue microarrays.




There are a number of reasons to use a full-service facility.

  1. Full-service labs allow investigators to "pay as you go".
  2. Service labs typically use newer equipment that receives regular maintenance.
  3. The staff in the facilities often have decades worth of experience.
  4. If you are trying something new, a full service lab can walk you through the entire process.


TACMASR (University of Arizona Cancer Center)
Users bring fixed or snap-frozen tissues to the Lab and in a week to 10 days they have microscope slides. Slides can be stained with routine and special stains, left un-stained so that users can perform immunohistochemistry (IHC) or Immunofluorescence (IF) on their samples.  Users can have the Lab perform computer-controlled IHC or in Situ hybridization (ISH) on their samples using one of the Lab's previously verified antibodies.  Advice and microscopic analysis by board certified Pathologists is available.


Electron microscopy facilities (Arizona Research Laboratories)
The AHSC Imaging facility specializes in biological transmission EM. Users bring fixed samples and can expect either 1um plastic sections, TEM grids, or TEM digital photos, depending on their research needs.

The main campus USIF facility can perform scanning EM of biological samples.


Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting (Arizona Research Laboratories & UACC)
The Cytometry Shared Service provides full-service flow cytometry and cell sorting capabilities. Their workhorse instrument, a BD FACSAria, can count 11 different characteristics simultaneously and can sort into 4 different sub-populations.




While the Cellular Imaging Facility Core's expertise is primarily in the realm of microscopy, occasionally center members need access to more translational imaging techniques.  The College of Medicine's Departments of Medical Imaging, as well as Biomedical Engineering and the College of Optical Sciences have many experts in this field. Many of these imaging techniques are coordinated through the Small Animal Medical Imaging Service (SAMIS).

These technologies are available at the campus facilities linked to from here.

  • Bioluminescence Imaging - the UACC Cancer Imaging Shared Service offers a Roper bioluminescence imager.  The instrument can capture bioluminescene in small animals, as well as fluorescence in multiwell plates.
  • Computed Tomography (microCT) - the UACC Cancer Imaging Shared Service offers an Inveon high performance microCT imaging system with variable zoom technology and multiple source and detector options.  This instrument is designed for small animal imaging.
  • Gamma-ray Imaging (SPECT) - the University of Arizona is a world leader in gamma ray imaging. The Center for Gamma Ray Imaging develops and builds it's own cutting-edge gamma ray photon imaging devices that are suitable for small animal imaging.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - the ORD/ARL Imaging Cores - Biological Magenetic Resonance Facility provides access to a 7T MRI instrument.   This instrument is designed for small animal imaging.
  • Ultrasound - the ORD/ARL Imaging Cores - Ultrasound facility (housed in Dr. Russ Witte's lab) provides access to a Vevo 2100 high resolution ultrasound imaging system specifically designed for small laboratory animals.





The Cellular Imaging Facility Core provides a number of one-on-one training opportunities for faculty, staff, students and post-docs. These can be formal training opportunities related to a specific instrument/technique, or informal explanations tailored to a specific research question.



Mr. Cromey has specific expertise in light, confocal, and electron microscopy, as well as image analysis and time-lapse imaging of live cells. He can provide the following types of instrument-specific training:

  • Laboratory light microscopes - There are a number of very nice light microscopes in investigator's labs that are poorly used, dirty, and mis-aligned. Mr. Cromey can teach your lab staff how to care for, and align, your lab microscope so that it is used properly and will last for a long time. No cost for the laboratories of SWEHSC investigators.
  • UACC Confocal microscope (Leica SP5-II) - Mr. Cromey is the manager of this facility and provides approximately 6-8 hours of training to all new users of this instrument. New users learn basic optics, as well as how to operate the instrument so that they can acquire good image data. The cost for training is $32/hr (2012). One way to reduce this cost is to send two users and/or split the cost with another lab that has one student who needs training. There is no cost to SWEHSC investigators for any additional consultation or assistance.
  • ARL Transmission electron microscope (AHSC) - Learn the basics of operating a TEM and taking digital images of samples. The hourly cost for using the instrument is $34/hr, however, this is less than having the ARL facility manager do the training at $73/hr (fees are as of Oct 2013). There is no cost to SWEHSC investigators for any additional consultation or assistance.
  • Light Microscopes and Image analysis workstations - Learn how to use these instruments to acquire images for a specific research purpose or for performing an image analysis experiment. At some time in the future there will most likely be a small per hour fee to use this instrument. There is no cost to SWEHSC investigators for any additional consultation or assistance.
  • Other instrument training (not specifically provided by the Cellular Imaging Facility Core) - Interested users can contact the other facilities (Deconvolution fluorescence microscopy, Flow Cytometry, Histology) associated with the Facility Core to receive training directly from the staff in those facilities. There are fees associated with the training and/or equipment use, follow the web links to learn more details.

Please note: the University of Arizona's interpretation of OMB Circular A-21 (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions) does not allow shared facilities to charge federal grants different rates for identical services.


Digital Imaging

  • Introduction to Scientific Digital Imaging - A four hour workshop made available to the entire campus twice a year. The workshop coordinated by Doug Cromey and is taught by three microscopy facility core managers (including Mr. Cromey). Announcements are made on the SWEHSC calendar and via the SWEHSC email listserver.
  • Digital imaging software - Learn how to correctly use Adobe Photoshop to process digital images and set up figures for publications. No cost for the laboratories of SWEHSC investigators.
  • Digital imaging ethics - Take advantage of Mr. Cromey's expertise in this area. Allow us to teach you, your students, staff and post-docs how to correctly work with digital images. We also have a web page with a list of guidelines (Digital Imaging: Ethics) and Mr. Cromey was a contributing author for the Online Learning Tool for Research Integrity and Image Processing (a case-study based learning tool, this site was funded by a grant from the US Office of Research Integrity).

Other ways to learn more

Visit our award winning Microscopy & Imaging Resources pages, or browse our long list of PDF tutorials, tip sheets and handouts.

These opportunities are not specific to the Cellular Imaging Facility Core, but are available on the UA campus:

  • Fundamentals of Light Microscopy & Electronic Imaging - CMM 565A (taught in the spring semester and summer pre-session), This is a lecture/hands-on course that teaches the essential principles and applications of light microscopy and electronic imaging.  By the end of the course you will be able to use and adjust a research microscope for various modes of light microscopy. Instructor: Dr. Elliott.
  • Human Histology - CMM 410/510 (3 units, taught during summer pre-session), This course will provide pre-health science professions students as well as students planning a career in biomedical research with essential background in functional morphology of human tissues and organs. Instructor: Dr. Amerongen
  • Pathology 515 - (spring semester) The course is designed for graduate students training for a career in biomedical research. The goal of the course is to expand and extend the student's knowledge of normal structure and function, into the realm of disease processes. Instructor: Dr. Breihl.
  • UA Computer Based Training (CBT) - free (to UA affiliates with a UANetID) on-line training videos for a wide variety of software (including Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel and Paintshop Pro). A broadband connection is required.
  • UA Outreach College - classes & workshops (these are NOT free, but they are reasonably priced and there are discounts for UA employees)
  • UA Multimedia Learning Lab - free access to multimedia equipment for UA faculty, staff & students, with access to knowledgible staff.