The following policies are designed to ensure smooth operation of the lab and a better experience for all of our users. If you have questions or comments about any of our policies, .

New users and training

1) All users MUST be trained by MSL staff before they can use any microscope. Trainings are individual, personal, and non-transferable (a user cannot train another user, no matter how experienced). Training on one system does not confer access to other systems, no matter how similar. This includes the Zeiss confocals. Some systems are similar enough that cross training on a different system will likely take less than an hour, but users must receive this additional training.

2) All MSL users must register with iLab. Instructions here.

3) Any user that wants light microscopy training or image analysis workstation training must request it by using the applicable form in our iLab site.

4) Any user that wants electron microscopy training or services must request it by using the applicable form in our iLab site.

5) All users must be in our database and make reservations under their own name. Users should not sign up for time under a different name (their PI, their postdoc supervisor, etc.).

6) Trainings are not free; microscope usage will always be charged.

Microscope usage

7) All users must know how to turn on and off the light microscope they are using, without assistance. This is covered in training.

8) Users must clean any oil objectives they use with lens paper, lens paper with ethanol and a final drying with lens paper. Proper technique is taught during training.

9) Two-hour rule: if no one is booked within the following two hours, users must completely shut down the light microscope they are using. If someone is booked within the following 2 hours they must follow instructions for partial shutdown.

10) Bookings will be held for 30 minutes if a user is late without notice. After that, the booking will be cancelled so other users can book and use the system.

11) No food or beverages are allowed in microscope rooms or laboratory spaces. Food and beverages can only be consumed in our common area.

12) No gloves on microscope controls or computers. You can use gloves to handle samples, as needed.

Data storage and transfer

13) Time used to transfer data is considered microscope use and must be booked. Transferring data while someone else is using the microscope is not allowed, as it can slow down their acquisition and cause system crashes.

14) Users are responsible for their own data. MSL cannot provide storage or backup of users’ data. To avoid problems, please abide by the following rules:

  1. Users must transfer their data off our acquisition computers onto our server or an external storage device at the end of each imaging session. Data on all acquisition computers will be periodically removed, without notice. If a user is unable to move data off our computers at the end of their session, he/she should contact MSL staff to ensure it does not get deleted.
  2. Users are responsible for moving their data from our server to their own storage. Our server is a convenient way of transferring data from MSL to users’ labs and should not be considered a place to permanently store data. We will periodically delete data off the server, and as a courtesy will notify users in advance to ensure they have their own copy.

After-hours access

15) After-hours access is a privilege granted when a user demonstrates sufficient expertise and experience that MSL staff (and they) feel comfortable operating the microscope without staff assistance. It can be requested through our iLab site, in the request services section. Only UNC personnel can be granted after-hours access to our laboratory.