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Microsc Res Tech. 2016 Jun;79(6):463-79. doi: 10.1002/jemt.22648. Epub 2016 Apr 4.

Advanced light microscopy core facilities: Balancing service, science and career.

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Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Bioimaging Center, Universitätsstrasse 10, Konstanz, 78464, Germany.
Technical University Dresden, Center for Regenerative Therapies, Light Microscopy Facility, Fetscherstraße 105, Dresden, 01307, Germany.
Heidelberg University, BioQuant, ViroQuant-CellNetworks RNAi Screening Facility, Im Neuenheimer Feld 267, & Heidelberg Center for Human Bioinformatics, IPMB, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, Heidelberg, 69120, Germany.
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Physical Biology Group, Max-von-Laue-Str. 15, Frankfurt am Main 60438, Germany.
Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, Core Facility and Services, Light Microscopy Facility, Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2, Bonn, 53175, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, FACS & Imaging Core Facility, Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 9b, Köln, 50931, Köln, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Light Microscopy Facility, Pfotenhauerstr. 108, Dresden, 01307, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Light Microscopy Facility, Spemannstrasse 35, Tübingen, 72076, Germany.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Advanced Light Microscopy Facility, Meyerhofstr. 1, Heidelberg, 69117, Germany.
Department of Infectious Diseases, German Center for Infection Research, Im Neuenheimer Feld 345, Heidelberg, 69120, Germany.
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin, Advanced Light Microscopy Technology Platform, Robert-Rössle-Str. 10, Berlin, 13125, Germany.
Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Center for Advanced Imaging, Universitätsstr. 1, Düsseldorf, 40225, Germany.
University of Cologne, CECAD Imaging Facility, Joseph-Stelzmann Strasse 26, Köln, 50931, Germany.
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Electron & Laser Scanning Microscopy, Brenneckestrasse 6, Magdeburg, 39118, Germany.
Max-Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Imaging Facility, Stübeweg 51, Freiburg, 79108, Germany.


Core Facilities (CF) for advanced light microscopy (ALM) have become indispensable support units for research in the life sciences. Their organizational structure and technical characteristics are quite diverse, although the tasks they pursue and the services they offer are similar. Therefore, throughout Europe, scientists from ALM-CFs are forming networks to promote interactions and discuss best practice models. Here, we present recommendations for ALM-CF operations elaborated by the workgroups of the German network of ALM-CFs, German Bio-Imaging (GerBI). We address technical aspects of CF planning and instrument maintainance, give advice on the organization and management of an ALM-CF, propose a scheme for the training of CF users, and provide an overview of current resources for image processing and analysis. Further, we elaborate on the new challenges and opportunities for professional development and careers created by CFs. While some information specifically refers to the German academic system, most of the content of this article is of general interest for CFs in the life sciences. Microsc. Res. Tech. 79:463-479, 2016.


core facility administration; instrument performance tests; microscopy room requirements; user and staff training; user/staff/instrument ratio

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