MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit

Associate Director
Anna-Liisa Nieminen, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences
Location: DD505 Drug Discovery Building

Contact Information

Monika Beck Gooz, MD, PhD
Research Associate Professor, Department of Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences
Location: DD507 Drug Discovery Building

Imaging Specialist 
Jennifer Bestman, PhD
Location: DD503 Drug Discovery Building


  • Fixed Cell & Tissue Imaging using chromogenic and fluorescence techniques in combination with antibody-based methods to monitor expression, distribution and interaction of specific molecules
  • Live Cell Imaging of parameter-sensitive fluorophores to monitor ions, electrical potentials, oxygen and nitrogen radical generation, NAD(P)H, mitochondrial and plasmalemmal membrane permeability, cell viability (apoptosis and necrosis), fluorescent protein biosensors, and other parameters
  • Intravital Microscopy to monitor microcirculation, leukocyte margination, invadopodia, mitochondrial polarization, membrane permeability, radical generation, gene expression, detection of collagen fibers, and other factors in living animals and tissues
  • Advanced Imaging Techniques: Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to characterize and quantify interactions between specific molecules and their mobility; second harmonic generation (SHG) microscope for label-free visualization of collagen


1. Zeiss 880 LSM NLO
confocal/multiphoton microscope (DD521D) for long-term fluorescence imaging of live cells, embryos, and tissues of living organisms as well as fixed cells and tissues

  • Confocal fluorescence imaging using single and multiphoton laser excitation
  • Axio Observer Z1 inverted microscope equipped with 10X, 25X, 40X and 63X objectives
  • Visible lasers for confocal excitation at 405, 458, 477, 488, 514, 561, and 633 nm 
  • Coherent Chameleon Ultra Ti:Sapphire multiphoton laser tunable from 690-1080 nm
  • Multiphoton fluorescence imaging in both descanned and non descanned modes
  • Brightfield and DIC imaging using single and multiphoton excitation
  • Spectral analysis and unmixing using Quasar 32-channel photomultiplier array
  • GaAsP detectors for highest sensitivity imaging
  • Simultaneous 3-channel fluorescence imaging and DIC
  • Other imaging modes include time-lapse, multi-track, intravital, depth, ratio, PLIM (phosphorescence lifetime imaging), FRAP (fluorescence recovery after photobleaching) and FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) and second harmonic generation
  • Stage top incubator for temperature and CO2 control with objective heater
  • Zeiss LSM 880 operating instructions

 2. Olympus FV1200 MPE
intravital multiphoton microscope (DD521C) for imaging live animals and thick specimens 

  • Olympus IX83 inverted microscope stand
  • 4X and 10X air objectives plus 30X and 60X long working distance silicone oil immersion objectives
  • Brightfield and DIC imaging using two photon excitation
  • Spectraphysics MaiTai DeepSee multiphoton laser tunable from 690-1040nm
  • Simultaneous detection of 4 channels is possible with two conventional PMT detectors and two highly efficient GaAsP detectors
  • Environmental chamber controls stage, temperature and specimen atmosphere 
  • Second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging
  • Download the Olympus FV1200 manual
  • Olympus FV1200 operating instructions

 3. Zeiss LSM 510 META
confocal microscope (HCC 355) for fluorescence imaging of live cells and fixed specimens

  • Confocal fluorescence imaging
  • Axiovert 200M inverted microscope stand equipped with 10X, 25X, and 63X objectives
  • Brightfield and DIC imaging
  • Laser excitation at 477, 488, 514, 543, and 633 nm 
  • Spectral analysis and unmixing with META photomultiplier array
  • Simultaneous multi-channel image acquisition with multi-tracking
  • Other imaging modes include time-lapse, multi-track, depth, ratio, FRAP (fluorescence recovery after photobleaching) and FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer)
  • Stage top incubator for temperature and CO2 control with objective heater
  • Download the Zeiss LSM 510 manual
  • Zeiss LSM 510 operating instructions

4. Olympus FluoView FV10i LIV
confocal microscope (DD521B) for automated long-term fluorescence imaging of live cells, as well as fixed specimens

  • 10X air and 60X water immersion objectives 
  • Phase contrast imaging 
  • Laser excitation at 405, 473, 559, and 635 nm
  • Detection through a variable bandpass filter for selection of the most suitable wavelength for a particular fluorophore 
  • Environmental control for live cell imaging, including hypoxia control
  • Z-drift compensation function for long-term imaging
  • Download the Olympus FV10i manual
  • Olympus Fv10i operating instructions

5.  BD Biosciences CARV II
disk-screening confocal microscope (DD526) for brightfield and both widefield and confocal fluorescence imaging

Imaging Workstation

An imaging workstation is dedicated for off-line image processing and analysis. The following softwares are available for current C&MI users: Metamorph, Image J FIJI, Duolink ImageTool, Adobe Photoshop, Olympus Viewer, IP Lab and Zeiss Zen software. Currently, no charges are assessed for computer use. Please contact for more information and to request training on the various softwares.

Additional Lab Equipment for Live Cell Imaging

A tissue culture hood (37°C) and two cell culture incubators are available in DD521 for specimen preparation and temporary incubation of cells. One incubator is equipped for 5% CO2.

User Rates

Base rates are for microscope use only by trained MUSC users. HCC members get a 25% subsidy. After hour rates apply except for 8 am – 5 pm Monday-Friday. Staff assistance/training includes hourly microscope charges.

MicroscopeBase Rate/Hr.HCC Rate/Hr.After Hours Rate/Hr.
Zeiss 510 LSM NLO META (355 HCC Building)
Zeiss 880 LSM (521 Drug Discovery)$40$30$20
BD CARVE II (526 Drug Discovery)$20$15$10
Olympus Fv10i LIV (521 Drug Discovery)$40$30$20
Olympus FV1200 MPE (Drug Discovery)$48$36$24
Imaging WorkstationFreeFreeFree
Assistance/Training by Staff$90$63Same

Get started by registering with iLab

As you plan upcoming projects that might use the Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit, we encourage you to discuss your experimental needs with the facility staff. Let us know what sample you are imaging (cells and tissues, live or fixed), your fluorophores, and what you are hoping to accomplish. Please contact for more information or follow the instructions below to register now!

1. Set up an iLab account. This software allows you to make reservations and records your usage. 

2. Register at

3. Confirm/change your password for login at the microscope:

4. Once registered, request training through the “Request training” tab. If you are unsure which microscope would be best for your needs, please send a request anyway and contact the facility manager directly at We are happy to help you to choose the best microscope for your need.

5. If you are requesting assisted imaging service, please contact us directly ( after you have registered so we can set up a consultation time and schedule your experiment.

Connect with the Confocal & Multiphoton Microscopy Unit

We periodically host workshops on various imaging and image analysis techniques. If you would like to receive announcements from the Cell & Molecular Imaging Shared Resource concerning these events, please complete the form below:


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