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The BOC has reopened. Please read the usage guidelines below before making a reservation. 


The SIM is located in 4251 BSB.


COVID-19 changes to instrument scheduling and use:


Important updates to COVID-19 precautions:


  1. The BOC is once again open all day Sunday through Saturday for trained users
  2. Same-day reservations are available once again. A 15-minute buffer will be added to each reservation to give previous users time to vacate the microscope room.
  3. There are now multiple tutorial videos primarily aimed at using the confocal, but also relevant for using NIS-Elements generally. You can find the videos on the main BOC website here


Specific considerations for N-SIM reservation scheduling:

The SIM is currently still housed in a shared lab space located in 4251 BSB. Consequently, there are some scheduling constraints to maintain social distancing requirements and accommodate users who are scheduled on the Azure C-6000 Imager that's housed in the same room.

To accommodate users of the Azure Imager, only 2-hour imaging blocks per day per lab in the SIM room (i.e. a trained SIM user can sign up to use the SIM for 2 hours each day as long as it does not coincide with previously scheduled Azure users). It may also be necessary to limit the number of reservations on a given day to ensure the BOC is not monopolizing usage of the shared lab space. In general, if there are already 2 reservations on the SIM for a specific day, please consider making your reservation on a less crowded day.

These considerations are a temporary nuisance while scheduling is finalized to move the SIM from 4251 BSB to B1414C in the new Core Facilities. I will update everyone with specifics once they have been determined.


Map of new BOC location (N-SIM is still temporarily located in 4251 BSB):



COVID-19 changes to instrument scheduling and use:

Changes to BOC reservation scheduling:

All reservations will need to be approved by the BOC manager. The BOC manager will add a 15-minute maintenance block following each reservation to provide enough time for the previous user to clean and vacate the equipment room before the next user.

Changes to BOC facilities use:

The BOC will abide by space requirements outlined in the university’s Phase 1 Reboot (https://research.wisc.edu/reboot-phase1/). Specifically, only one user will be allowed in BOC equipment rooms at any time. A minimum safe distance of 6 feet between people throughout the Biochemical Sciences Building will continue to be observed. Per university guidelines, a face mask is required to work in the BOC.

Sanitation of the instruments will be conducted by users and the BOC manager. At the end of each reservation, users must disinfect all used surfaces using EtOH applied to Kimwipes. Disinfection materials will be provided by the BOC. For most microscopes, the most-used components should be given special attention:

   - Stage controls (both on the microscope proper and on the stage controller adjacent to each instrument)
   - Oculars
   - Computer keyboard, mouse, and monitor

Objectives must still be cleaned with Sparkle on optical lens tissue (not Kimwipes!). Please contact the BOC manager if there are any questions or concerns about equipment sanitation. The BOC manager will routinely enter equipment rooms when they are vacant to clean and sanitize all equipment.

Changes to microscope troubleshooting:

Instrument assistance and troubleshooting will be handled through remote desktop. When a user requires assistance, they should call the BOC office phone (608-263-2436). If the manager has stepped out, the user should email the BOC manager at opticalcore@biochem.wisc.edu. Remote desktop troubleshooting will be handled through either Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

If the issue can not be resolved through remote desktop, the user will be asked to vacate the room while the BOC manager troubleshoots the issue in person.

Changes to microscope training:

Training on all instruments has resumed. Training will be performed either entirely through a virtual protocol, or through a combination of brief in-person instruction and virtual, depending on room occupancy limits.