Affiliated Facilities

Transmission Electron Microscopy

Faculty Directors for MRSEC and PSD: Dmitri Talapin and Heinrich Jaeger

The Electron Microscopy Facility is a joint BSD/PSD resource available to all campus researchers. Users have access to an FEI Tecnai F30 scanning/transmission electron microscope. The microscope has a point-to-point resolution of 0.2 nm when operated in the TEM mode and a spatial resolution of 0.2 nm for the STEM mode.The facility is located in the sub-basement of the Gordon Center for Integrative Science, right next to the MRSEC shared facilities. This forms a synergistic cluster with the SEM and SPM instrumentation maintained by MRSEC’s Materials Prep Lab. The Electron Microscopy facility provides sample preparation, imaging, consultation, and training services for transmission electron microscopy.

Physical Science services include: phase-contrast TEM imaging which provides information on materials structures at atomic resolution; diffraction contrast imaging which is used for morphology and defect investigation; STEM Z-contrast imaging which presents information not only on crystal structure but also on chemical composition at atomic resolution; electron diffraction that can be used for crystal structure and orientation investigation; elemental analysis using X-ray energy-dispersive spectrometry; and tomography for 3D structure determination. This TEM is used extensively for imaging of polymer and nanocrystal samples (IRG 2).

 Biological Science services include: Classic chemical fixation and cryopreservation; tissue embedding; sectioning; negative staining; immunocytochemistry, and imaging.  Also, available is 3-D electron tomography of samples, which allows accurate three-dimensional reconstruction of biological samples at 5 – 7 nm resolution. This method is proving to be indispensable for understanding how molecular structures are linked to cellular architecture and function. An added benefit will be the capacity to perform correlated fluorescence and 3D electron microscopy. Correlative microscopy is an emerging technique that utilizes the complementary visual techniques of light microscopy, the ability to localize macromolecular structures of interest, and electron microscopy, which provides high-resolution cellular context. The combination of both LM/EM would allow researches to capture populations of cells, identify cellular features or fluorescently labeled proteins of interest, and then capture high-resolution (3-7 nm) three-dimensional cellular volume reconstructions of pre-identified cellular regions, with high sensitivity and spatial precision.

Faculty Director: Ben Glick

BSD Faculty Oversight Committee: Chris Rhodes, Jerry Turner, and Laurie Mets

Main Website


Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Faculty Supervisor: Prof. G. Karczmar (Radiology)

The MRI research facility maintains a 4.7T GE/Bruker system with 7” horizontal magnet bore and is located in the Radiology Department. The facility is currently being updated with a new computer system and r.f. amplifiers, significantly enhancing its versatility. In collaboration with Karczmar, non-magnetic inserts with specialized r.f. pick-up coils, vibration exciters and shear cells have been constructed enabling us to employ MRI as a non-invasive probe of granular materials. MRSEC students participate in courses on magnet safety and MRI technique taught by Karczmar. Hourly fees for use of the MRI facility are set in negotiations between MRSEC and the Biological Sciences Core Facilities management.

Main Website


Institute for Biophysical Dynamics Nanobiology Facility

Technical director: Dr. Justin E. Jureller (Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, MRSEC)

Faculty Director: Norbert F. Scherer

The IBD Nanobiology Facility is a joint venture between the Biological and Physical Sciences Divisions. This facility focuses on time-resolved fluorescence and advanced (optical and scanning probe) microscopy. It functions as both a shared user service core as well as an instrument and method development laboratory. Its mission is to provide state-of-the-art imaging and molecular manipulation instrumentation to a wide user group (ranging from Physics, Materials Science, and Chemistry to Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Medicine) to address a flexible range of research needs. Often times this will result in the construction of custom optomechanical instruments for special user-specified measurements. Current instrumentation includes a biological Atomic Force Microscope (Asylum MFP3D), a lifetime spectrofluorometer (ISS ChronosBH), laser sources, time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) equipment, and several home-built microscopes for techniques such as Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS), Two-Photon Fluorescence imaging, Coherent Anti-Stokes Scattering (CARS) microscopy, and single-molecule confocal FRET measurements. Current projects include the construction of a Simultaneous Multiplane 3D Microscope and a novel ultrafast laser amplifier source intended for nonlinear imaging of nanoparticles, colloids, intracellular granule transport. The NanoBiology Facility maintains strong educational and industrial outreach programs as well as consulting services for projects, grant writing, and publications. 

Main Website


Biophysics Core Facility

Technical Director:  Elena Solomaha, Ph.D.

Faculty Supervisor: Ron Rock (IBD & BMB)

 The Biophysics Core Facility provides access to state-of-the-art and well maintained biophysics equipment. The Core provides a range of instrumentation ideal for studying and characterizing proteins, lipids, soft materials, and protein-membrane systems and their interactions. Our equipment allows measurement of thermodynamic properties including stability using CD spectrometry, binding constants using analytical ultra-centrifugation, and ITC calorimetry. Secondary structures can be studied by CD spectrometry as well as monitoring conformational transitions. Over-all size and shape can be determined from rotational correlation times measured using light scattering or time-resolved fluorescence anisotropy. The core offers the following techniques and instrumentation: a UV-optimized HJY Fluorolog3 spectrofluorometer, a Tecan Safire 2 Fluorescence Plate Reader, a Biotek Synergy Multi-Detection Microplate Reader, a suite of Wyatt Synamic and Static Light Scattering equipment (DynaPro NanoStar, DynaPro Plate Reader, and DAWN HELEOS II), Biacore 3000 and ProteOn XPR Surface Plasmon Resonance instruments, a Beckman-Coulter Optima XL-A Analytical Ultracentrifuge, a Microcal ITC200, a Beckman-Coulter Optima XL-A, a Microcal Isothermal Titration Calorimeter, a Microcal VP-DSC Differential Scanning Calorimeter, and a new Seahorse ECF Analyzer. The Biophysics Core facility offers expert assistance, user training, data analysis, and service for all of the above biophysical techniques. 

 Main Website