Dear Core User,

Due to the current situation with COVID-19, per directives from Senior management at Partners and the Hospitals, this research core facilities will have a hiatus in their service offering. We will not be offering service till we are advised to resume operation.

Please stay safe in this challenging time and we look forward to working with you in the future.

PMB Microscopy Core

The Microscopy Core of the Program in Membrane Biology (PMB) at MGH is equipped and staffed to provide a wide range of services to investigators from MGH and the Boston area scientific community in the area of light and electron microscopy. The Core is housed on the 8th floor of the Simches Research Center at MGH, and is directed by Dr. Dennis Brown, Ph.D. The Core will provide services ranging from complete performance of the technical procedures required, to full training of personnel. Among the techniques available are laser scanning confocal microscopy, spinning disk confocal microscopy, tissue fixation, sectioning, immunostaining and conventional immunofluorescence microscopy, image analysis, and all aspects of electron microscopy including immunogold staining. The Core facility provides a unique and important resource for members of the scientific community as they approach a variety of research problems that call for these advanced microscopy techniques.

Personnel/Contact Information:

Director: Dennis Brown, Ph. D. 
Phone: (617) 726-5665 
Fax: (617) 643-3182

Other Staff

Senior Lab Technologist: Diane E. Capen (ultrathin sectioning; electron microscopy) 

Phone: (617) 726-3696 
Fax: (617) 643-3182

Assistant professor: Richard Bouley (cryostat sectioning; confocal microscopy) 


Instructor in Medecine: Anil Nair (confocal microscopy)


Facilities and Equipment:

Location of Core:

The facility is located at the Program in Membrane Biology, 8th Floor, MGH Simches Research Center, 185 Cambridge Street, Boston.

Major Equipment:

  • JEOL 1101 electron microscope with full digital image capture and processing
  • Zeiss LSM 800 Airyscan confocal microscope (upright platform)
  • Nikon A1R confocal microscope with environmental chamber for live cell imaging (inverted platform)
  • Perkin Elmer LCI Spinning Disk Confocal Microscope
  • Nikon Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscope system
  • Nikon 90i upright epifluorescence microscope with Hamamatsu Orca CCD camera and complete image analysis software (Nikon Elements) and motorized XYZ stage
  • Nikon 80i upright epifluorescence microscope with Hamamatsu Orca CCD camera and complete image analysis software (Nikon Elements
  • Nikon TE300 inverted microscope with wide-field optics and Hamamatsu Orca CCD camera for cell migration assays
  • Olympus doubleheaded light microscope for section examination
  • Leica ultramicrotomes (EM UC7) for routine EM sections (2)
  • Leica FCS ultracryomicrotome for ultra thin frozen sectioning
  • Leica cryostats (CM3050S) for conventional cryosectioning (2)
  • Leica microtome for paraffin sectioning
  • MMI CellCut laser microdissection system
  • Pelco 101 Vibratome
  • Leica EM AFS2 freeze substitution system
  • 2 stand alone PC-based computer platforms with Nikon Elements, Zeiss Zen and Perkin Elmer Volocity image analysis software


1. Technical Services
The core will perform conventional immunofluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, live-cell imaging, conventional electron microscopy and EM immunogold labeling, tissue sectioning, tissue fixation, and computer based image analysis and quantification. In some cases, investigators will provide their own stained tissues/cell for imaging, while in others the Core will perform all services from fixation and sectioning, to staining and imaging.
2. Training Services
The core technicians will also provide training to high frequency users who wish to invest the substantial time necessary for learning to use the equipment proficiently (with the exception of the electron microscope).
3. Consultation Services
Dr. Dennis Brown and the Core technologists will be available for consultation in the use of the different microscopy techniques, and to provide technical advice, such as the different fixation techniques that enable antibodies to detect their antigens.
4. Development for Core Enhancement
Dr. Dennis Brown and the advisory committee will continually explore new techniques to be offered as part of the core service.

Getting Started:

To access the core, please contact the appropriate persons (Dennis Brown for general inquiries, Richard Bouley and Anil Nair for light and confocal microscopy, and Diane Capen for EM work and sectioning).

Departmental Web Link: