UNC Imaging Core Facilities and Resources

These pages list our core facilities by areas of focus.  These are brief profiles of the cores; to find more detailed information on each core, including location, contact information, and equipment lists, please check out the facility overview in each core facility listing in our searchable database.

The UNC Imaging Cores and Resources Page introduces a range of methodologies available on Campus ranging from light and electron microscopy to flow cytometry to image analysis techniques.  These methods can be used on specimens ranging from molecules to cells to whole animals including humans.


Light Microscopy

The Microscopy Services Laboratory is a cost recovery center open to all UNC researchers. It has two components: Electron Microscopy and Light Microscopy.
The Microscopy Services Laboratory will consult with you about your project, advise on experimental design and sample preparation, and train you to take images. We have experience with confocal, light-sheet, widefield fluorescence, darkfield, and polarization microscopy. Tiling, multi-day live-cell experiments, FRAP, FRET, spectral imaging and other experimental designs are available


The Hooker Imaging Core is a research facility providing state of the art confocal and wide-field microscopy systems.  The high resolution light microscopy systems are now augmented with a Zeiss Airyscan super-resolution sensor. There is also a transmission electron microscope with sample preparation services with training available.

The Hooker Imaging Core is open to all users in the University and Corporate community on a fee basis. For the infrequent, untrained user, the Imaging Facility provides a completely assisted technical support service. Trained users work independently with on-site support. A significant effort is devoted to training investigators who require microscopy techniques to advance their projects

Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility is reserved for properly trained authorized users from the Neuroscience Center and IDDRC. Other users from UNC with the neuroscience-related research are also given access to the equipment on a recharge basis. Core's instrumentation includes:
Zeiss LSM 510 NLO Based on an Axioskop 2 FS MOT, this confocal system is equipped with three photomultiplier tube detectors (PMTs), a multiline Argon laser (458 nm, 488 nm and 514 nm), 543nm and 633nm Helium-Neon (HeNe) lasers, and a motorized stage for tiling large samples.

Electron Microscopy

The Microscopy Services Laboratory is a cost recovery center open to all UNC researchers. It has two components: Electron Microscopy and Light Microscopy.
The Microscopy Services Laboratory will consult with you about your project, can prepare your samples, take images for you or train you to take images. Our services include SEM prep, embedding, ultrathin sections, negative staining and immunoEM. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy available.

Flow Cytometry

The UNC Flow Cytometry Core Facility provides state-of-the-art flow cytometry analysis instrumentation and cell sorting services.   The Facility offers analytic flow cytometry utilizing Cytek-modified 5-color FACSCalibur, 8-color Stratedigm S1000Ex, 18-color BD LSR II and three 9-color Dako CyAns.  BSL1 sorting is provided by a Dako MoFlo and a Dako MoFlo XDP. BSL-2 sorting is available on an iCyt Reflection and a BD FACS Aria II. A skilled staff provides help with instrument setup, data analysis, and consultation for experiment design. Training is available to enable investigators and their staff to run the analytical cytometers themselves at reduced cost. Services are available to the entire UNC-CH research community as well as to others in the Research Triangle Park area.

Animal Imaging

Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC) Small Animal Imaging Facility (SAIF)provides various animal imaging services to facilitate biomedical research at UNC and beyond.  Non-invasive in-vivo animal imaging provided by the core has been critical in many research fields including neurological study, cancer research, pharmaceutical development, etc.  The goal of SAIF is to develop and offer advanced imaging technologies with state-of-the-art instrumentation and experienced staff to assist investigators in a wide range of applications in biomedical research. To date, the SAIF core houses twelve major pieces of equipment for animal imaging, including two MRI, one MR/PET, one PET/CT, one SPECT/CT, two microCT, three optical imaging, and two ultrasound imaging systems.  The facility has become the most complete animal imaging facility regional-wise. We have expertise on imaging small animals such as rats and mice, as well as bigger animals like cat and dogs.  The facility is open to all users and accepts work from external entities.

Human Imaging

Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC): Human Imaging Facility provides research imaging services utilizing 3T Magnetic Resonance (MR) and 3T MR/PET (Positron Emission Tomography) whole body scanners. The facility is located one block south of UNC Hospitals and is 100% dedicated to research with a staff experienced in research imaging studies including fMRI and infant sleep studies. The facility offers researchers convenient daytime hours for scheduling, easy and free parking for subjects and assistance setting up imaging protocols.Both scanner rooms contain ancillary equipment for patient studies including: MR compatible monitoring system for BP and pulse oximetry,and visual presentation/responding systems for functional MR studies and for subject entertainment. The facility also has a mock scanner available for training subjects undergoing MR studies.  The mock scanner has a visual presentation and computer setup to simulate the scanner room experience for research subjects.The facility is open to all users and does accept work from external entities.


Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory , Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities provides consultation and support for all stages of design and implementation of neuroimaging studies, and provides access to well-established methods for the acquisition and analysis of MR data.  The DNL is also responsible for the development of novel neuroimaging methods to insure the most technologically advanced and efficient data acquisition parameters that would also address particular challenges posed by studying immature of developing neural systems.
Brain imaging has become an important and indispensable tool for the non-invasive analysis of human brain function and structure. In particular, MRI is especially well suited for the study of children because it is non-invasive, does not involve radiation and therefore can be repeated within short periods of time, thus enabling longitudinal investigations.

Slide Imaging

The Translational Pathology Laboratory provides sophisticated digital pathology platforms and study design support to all UNC investigators to enhance translational research.  The Lab provides a centralized facility on campus to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze fresh, frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissues and cell lines using morphology-based assays for DNA, RNA, and proteins.  Technologies include the Aperio Spectrum Web-Based Image Management system and an Aperio ImageScope Image Viewer.


Other Imaging Facilities

Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Lab (CHANL) operates as a fee-for-service shared instrumentation laboratory open to UNC researchers from all departments as well as to researchers from other universities, government labs, and industry.
Objectives of CHANL:
• Provide cost-effective access to analytical and nanofabrication instrumentation that would not otherwise be available in individual research labs
• Provide expertise and technical resources, to assist researchers in designing experimental plans, acquiring appropriate data, and interpreting data
• Promote education by working closely with students and postdocs to provide instrument training and hands on experience
• Foster an environment of collaborative research that extends beyond departmental boundaries

Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC): Image Storage and Analysis core serves to develop new tools for image analysis and to support the image storage and analysis needs of scientists who use the BRIC facilities. So far, this core has developed various novel image segmentation, registration, and multivariate analysis methods, with applications to brain (including MCI, AD, Schizophrenia, and neonate study), heart, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. The facility is open to all users and accepts work from external entities.

 NCSU Analytical Instrumentation Facility Cryo-Scanning Electron Microscope.  The NCSU AIF recently acquired a Jeol JSM-7600F cryo SEM, outfitted with a cryogenic transfer system and stage for high magnification imaging of volatile or beam-sensitive samples.  * UNC and NCSU have a cross usage agreement which allows investigators from either institution access to each others' core facilities at internal rates.

Link to Searchable Core Facility database

Back to Categorized Core Listing Page