BOKU Core Facilities, Multiscale Imaging

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU)

Wien | Website

Core facility (CF)

Short Description

Are you interested in exploring the „small world”? You can visit now the bioimaging core facility of our university. The long-desired microscope center has been established in the Muthgasse complex and harbours five high-end microscopes: two video microscopes, one of them dedicated to live cell imaging; the other one is designed for total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, two confocal laser scanning microscopes and a laser microdissection microscope.

Confocal microscopes are for better resolution in space, for example to study chromatin structure in nuclei. Video-microscopy, as its name suggests, serves as a camera to shoot movies from your samples. It provides excellent time resolution at the expense of some structural details. The live cell imaging platform is a hybrid system: one may use it like a video-microscope or, it can be transformed into a confocal one by attaching a laser scanning module to the stativ. Soon, an incubation chamber will complete the workstation to provide convenient growth temperature, CO2 and humidity for live samples. This system might become the favourite of neurologists and developmental biologists enabling them long lasting observations in natural conditions. With the arsenal of the imaging center students, professors and scientists are able to visualize, isolate and study fine structures of various objects and materials, not necessarily biological ones. It is possible to quantify and follow movements of microorganisms, organelles and even single molecules. Spatial and temporal changes of protein interactions, quantification of internal pH, redox potentials, concentration of ions, such as Calcium, and of molecules, such as glucose, will be possible to measure as long as their presence can be converted into fluorescent signals. Last but not least, one can feel the sensation of making surgery with a laser knife of the microdissecting microscope. This system allows you to separate and to collect specific regions of your sample, for example tumorous cells from tissues. By cutting a teeny-weeny part of a given specimen for further analysis, one may perform single cell DNA, RNA tests.

Contact Person

Monika Debreczeny

Research Services

BOKU Core Facility Multiscale Imaging (MSI) offers high-end research light microscope and related applications for imaging and monitoring uni- or multi-cellular model organisms or biomolecules either in their native environment (“in vivo”) or in artificial matrices. The facility offers wide-field fluorescence and confocal microscope but also equipped with label-free technologies, like Raman and FT-IR microspectrometry.

General policy
Microscopes of the facility MSI can be only used after receiving a training or proving relevant personal skills. Training on the various microscope setups must be given by the head of the facility. After the training, the user should sign a … (Trained user mode)
In full service mode the facility staff performs the experiments, evaluate the data and generate report.
The staff provides project discussions – free of charge -, in order to choose the most appropriate microscope for the planned experiments. As the project progresses, further discussions are always possible.
Use of the facility’s infrastructure is restricted to material that is classified as safety level S1(S2?) (no infectious or hazardous material).
Service fees and prices are specified in the User fees table. MSI reserves the right to update prices at any time. Users can receive a customized offer per email after a project discussion and before starting the experiments. Updates of service fees and prices apply for ongoing projects, too.
To start any new project, please contact the person responsible for the service area of interest (see Communication) to discuss the possibilities available and instructions on how to order service. Users are encouraged to have some initial information ready, such as previous attempts, papers that show results similar to those the user would like to obtain, and - last but not least - a clear idea of what one would like to see and what question(s) one would like to answer.

Autonomous work in the MSI facility is exclusively allowed after receiving a training by the facility staff. A training only applies for a selected microscope; autonomous usage of all microscopes is possible but, requires a separate training on every single setup. Users are not allowed to train newcomers. To schedule training, please contact the facility head. During training, future users will be informed about safety and booking regulation.If training is not successful or if the user does not comply with the rules of the facility, in particular safety rules, facility staff can ban individual users temporarily or permanently from the utilization of instrumentation or the facility.

Biosafety and Lab safety
General rules for biosafety and lab safety are available in a separate document. Use of MSI services and infrastructure is restricted to material that is classified as safety level S1 (no infectious or hazardous material).

Instrument Booking
All microscopes of the facility and the image analysis workstation are available to trained users around the clock (24/7).
Instruments must be booked in advance via groupwise mailbox calendar and users must log usage in the provided paper logbooks, and report any error message/failure of functions that occur during their work. Problems with samples should not be recorded.
Users cannot cancel their bookings; to modify or to delete a reserved slot, please send an email to the staff. Cancellation request within 24 hours before start of instrument time, does not guarantee that the staff receives the information in time. In this case or in emergency, as well as on weekends, please contact the staff by phone. If not cancelled, the booked instrument time will be charged. For BOKU users, the academia rate of the respective instrument will be charged! Users who repeatedly do not log their slots will be banned from using the infrastructure.
MSI reserves the right to cancel bookings – even on short notice -, when instrument maintenance or repair is necessary. Preventive maintenance will be scheduled to minimize impact on usage. Booking restrictions for a given microscope will be provided during training. No restrictions for booking apply to MSI staff for carrying out co-operation projects or for maintenance. If instruments become unavailable, Facility staff will inform all affected users at the earliest possibility.

Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure

Please contact the head of the Core Facility.


The imaging facility is open to all scientists and aims to initiate cooperations even beyond the BOKU. Welcome are cooperations to test innovative ideas and to develop new microscopic methods. Please contact the head of the Center.