New Nikon Imaging Center opens at UCSF

By Wallace Ravven

Nikon Instruments, UCSF and the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3) announced today the opening of a collaborative core microscopy imaging center to promote education and innovation in microscopy imaging. 

The new UCSF Nikon Imaging Center is equipped with the latest technology for light microscopy imaging systems. Such a large collection of high-end microscopy technology is rarely available in a single location. The Center will accelerate bioresearch and discovery, from imaging individual molecules to whole organisms. The instruments will aid such studies as brain and heart development, cell movement, chromosome structure and fat accumulation in animal models.

The new center was inaugurated today with a reception, tours of the facility and remarks by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, QB3 Executive Director Reg Kelly, and Nikon Instruments Company President Hidetoshi Mori.

Nikon Instruments, Inc., of Melville, NY, is a leader in the development of advanced optical microscopy and digital imaging technology. In collaboration with UCSF and QB3 scientists, Nikon and its dealer, Technical Instruments, Inc., have installed a suite of instruments for live cell imaging, and a platform for UCSF and QB3 scientists to develop new microscopy technologies, software, analytic techniques and imaging methods.

Nikon has opened five imaging centers around the world, and the Nikon Imaging Center at UCSF is the second to open in the U.S. It is housed in the Center for Advanced Technology on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus. Nikon expects innovative research employing their instruments and systems will enhance and expand their applications, while UCSF and QB3 faculty scientists, postdocs and graduate students gain the benefit of sophisticated new tools for biomedical research.

“Nikon, UCSF and QB3 have joined forces to create an advanced microscopy and imaging research laboratory that will provide the research community access to the very latest, cutting edge microscopy imaging tools that are enabling a revolution in biomedical research and discovery,” said Lee C. Shuett, executive vice president of Nikon Instruments, Inc. “Nikon’s imaging technology will help hundreds of brilliant young scientists make critically significant bioscience breakthroughs in the years ahead.”

The Center will feature specialty Nikon microscopes providing six new imaging capabilities. One instrument, the spectral confocal microscope, is designed to process very slight differences in light wavelengths given off by a sample, effectively creating a microscope system with great color sensitivity.  This yields a much enhanced view of not only the sample, but also the mircoenvironment within the sample. It will be used initially for research on brain and heart development and vision studies. 

Another microscope, the swept field confocal microscope, allows users the choice of capturing images at very high resolution, or capturing images very quickly for rapidly moving live cell events and samples that are sensitive to light. It will be used for cancer, aging metabolism and neurophysiology research.

In addition, the facility features three different kinds of laser-based microscopes, including the latest Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF), and two laser scanning confocal microscope systems. The facility also offers physiology imaging workstations and other imaging workstations featuring Nikon’s Perfect Focus inverted microscopes with incubator chambers for long term time elapse digital imaging. All Nikon microscopes will be provisioned with Nikon’s NIS-Elements advanced quantitative microscopy software and technical support.  The new Center will be open to QB3 and UCSF scientists and to collaborative researchers.

“Nikon, UCSF and QB3 share a vision to drive innovation in experimental design and in microscopy,” said Douglas Crawford, associate director of QB3. “The Nikon Imaging Center will contribute immensely to the progress of biomedical science.”
Nikon has opened other imaging centers at Harvard University, The University of Heidelberg in Germany, Oxford University in Great Britain, and Hokkaido University in Japan. (See Nikon Imaging Centers)

The opening day events will be followed by a day-long symposium on Saturday, September 30, focusing on the theme “Innovations in Light Microscopy,” where distinguished scientists will describe pioneering applications of emerging microscopy techniques. Several organizations which have donated equipment for the Center were also recognized at today’s event.

About Nikon Instruments, Inc.

Nikon Instruments, Inc., is a global leader in the development of advanced optical technology. Its product line includes microscopy equipment, digital imaging, precision measuring and semiconductor wafer-handling equipment. Nikon is committed to providing technologically advanced instruments that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Nikon combines state-of-the-art capabilities with innovative designs to produce optically superior, ergonomically friendly products for cutting-edge scientific research, medical and industrial applications.  Website:
Nikon USA.

About QB3

QB3, the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research, is the only one of the four California Institutes for Science and Innovation devoted to biomedical research. It brings together scientists from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UCSF to apply intensely quantitative techniques to solve complex biological problems critical to advancing human health.  The institutes were conceived by the State of California to improve collaborations between university research scientists and those in technology industries in order to accelerate the translation of basic biomedical research discoveries into diagnostics, products and treatments to improve health and assure the growth of the state’s economy.  Web site: 

About The University of California, San Francisco

UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the health professions and life sciences, and providing complex patient care. Web site: