IBEST Optical Imaging Core

Overview of Services


The Optical Imaging Core (OIC) provides detailed visualization of cell structure in biological processes through high-resolution imaging. Observation of development, pathogenesis, and genetic mutations at a cellular level allows investigators the opportunity to review how key components are organized, how they interact, and how they change in size and number. The fluorescent, confocal and multiphoton microscopes in the OIC are specifically designed for fluorescent imaging needed to gather this data. A variety of software programs are available for subsequent image analysis.


Flow cytometry is also available at the OIC. This provides cell characterization in large populations of dissociated cells ranging from bacteria to plant and mammalian cells. Flow cytometry is greatly enhanced by fluorescent labeling techniques, providing specific knowledge of gene, protein, and organelle changes within individual cells of a population. Once characterized, cells can be sorted for subsequent procedures (eg. incorporation of stem cells into animals or culturing of isolated bacteria) or analyses, such as proteomics and genomics. Cytometric analysis software is also available.


The OIC has a fluorescent stereoscope for imaging of plants and small animals that require a large depth of focus and wider field of view than can be provided in a standard compound light microscope.


The Optical Imaging Core is staffed by an experienced biologist and microscopist, Ann Norton.


Service Models


The Optical Imaging Core has two basic fee-for-service models.


The Self-Service Model is available to investigators who plan to acquire and analyze their own samples. Under this model, investigators will be billed for usage of instruments and training. It is the policy of the OIC that each user be trained by the OIC Director on instruments they plan to utilize. Once they are adequately trained, they will receive access to the OIC and will be allowed to schedule use of instruments independent of the OIC Director.


In the Full-Service Model, the OIC Director consults with investigators from experimental design through to publication of the study findings. The Principal Investigator or lab member will work closely with the OIC Director on protocols and timing of the samples. The OIC Director will acquire the images or cytometry data. Under this model, investigators will be billed for training, consulting, sample preparation, and usage of instruments.


The OIC Director Ann Norton can provide technical services, such as review and repair of microscopes outside the OIC, if time permits. Costs will be billed equivalent to consultation rates. Services provided by Ann:

  • Initial experimental design collaboration 
  • Sample preparation advice and guidance on which system is most appropriate to answer your scientific questions. 
  • Direct image and flow cytometry acquisition and analysis services, and Training on equipment and analysis software for independent work.


All papers, publications and press releases resulting from the use of the core facilities should include the following acknowledgement:

This project was supported by grants from the National Center for Research Resources (5P20RR016448-10) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (8 P20 GM103397-10) from the National Institutes of Health.


Ann Norton, Director





Life Science South 450
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3051


Links and Resources

  1. http://www.ibest.uidaho.edu/cores/optical-imaging-core/


Name Role Phone Email Location
Ann Norton
LSS 450

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