Every individual wishing access to the instruments is required to proceed through several steps, some are simple administrative tasks while others are technical and will be more time consuming.  The basic outline is as follows: 

Step 1.  Complete an   AICF User Application Form   The application form consists of four forms: Basic contact/information, Billing Information, Request for Reader Card Access, and Assessment Participation.  Once completed the forms should be emailed to

Step 2.  Schedule Training.  Upon receipt and verification of information, prospective users will be contacted to arrange for a training session on the requested instrument or instruments.  The training session is typically completed within 2-weeks after submission of the required forms.    

Step 3.  Training and Testing.  Training is tailored to meet the needs and expertise of the intended user whether beginning microscopist to expert imager.  There are three levels of training Tier 1, Tier 2, and Expert each with different levels of expertise, independence, and imaging competencies (see below).  Training session consist of in class and at microscope learning session followed by a practical exam that establishes capacity for independence.  

Step 4.  Scheduling.  Upon successful completion of training/testing the applicant will be given access to the online scheduling system run through Google calendar.  Rules for scheduling are given below.  



The specific length of training time required for each user is flexible and is very much dependent upon the investigator’s prior experience.  Typically, the more sophisticated the required use the greater the training time with novice first-time users requiring the greatest amount of training. 


a.  Confocal/Structured Illumination Tier 1 Training 

  • two-to-three hours of lecture/on-scope training  
  • one-to-two hour “practical exam”  
  • competencies include knowledge of beam paths and optical train, independent power-up and shutdown the system, fundamental knowledge of Zen operating system, setting of basic imaging parameters, tile and stitch large imaging scans, change lenses, understand the importance of lens management with oil immersion optics, capture images with multiple fluorophores, collect Z- stack images, and transfer and store data files. 


b.  Confocal/Structured Illumination Tier 2 Training   

  • one-to-two hours of lecture/on-scope training 
  • one-to-two hour “practical exam”  
  • competencies include all of the skills and knowledge of a Tier 1 user along with the following, set-up and conduct real-time or time-lapse imaging of live material coupled to imaging of fluorescent protein analogs, capacity to conduct advanced imaging techniques, for example, FRET, FRAP, Optogenetic applications, set-up of temperature/CO2/humidity controlled environmental chamber, live-streaming, photomanipulation, fluorescence quantitation. 


c.    Confocal/Structured Illumination Expert Designation 

In addition to possessing the competencies of Tier 1 and 2 users, expert users have the knowledge base to assist in maintaining basic microscope and computer functionalities.  Expert users have the capability to change bulbs, trouble shoot alignment issues in bright field and fluorescence, assist Tier 1 and 2 users in designing new data collection parameters, and when needed to serve as liaison with Zeiss technical staff.  Expert users typically evolve out of the user groups because of a genuine interest in imaging.  Often this type of user will receive additional on/off site training with educators from Zeiss or by attendance at imaging specific workshops. 


d.  Transmission Electron Microscope Basic Training 

  • 2 two-hour session provided in lecture/on-scope training  
  • one-to-two hour “practical exam”  
  • basic competencies include; turning filament on/off, checking filament saturation, specimen insertion/retraction, understanding basic vacuum overview, management of illumination, magnification, and focusing, basic understanding of DigitalMicrograph, camera insertion/retraction, setting focusing and image capture parameters, file conversions, and data transfer to off scope drives, understanding of cooling and air pressure systems. 



      AICF uses Google Calendar for scheduling use on all of its microscopes and accessory equipment.  Peak operating times for all microscope are 8AM to 6PM, Monday through Friday.  Once all forms and training has been completed, each user will be given a personal password to access only the equipment for which they have completed qualification.   The rules for reserving scope time during periods of heavy usage are as follows: 

  • qualified users can reserve up to a maximum of 4 hours/day during peak times 
  • qualified users can reserve up to a maximum of 10 hours/week during peak time  
  • individual labs with multiple qualified users can reserve up to a maximum of 20 hours/week during peak time. 
  • experiments requiring more than 4 hours of continuous imaging are to be conducted in off-peak hours, that is 6PM to 8AM or weekends 
  • qualified users can reserve microscope time up to 7 days in advance 
  • microscope reservation is forfeited if the qualified user does not start using the instrument within 45 minutes of start time or does not leave a note at the scope informing of a late arrival.   


Special Circumstances:  Management recognizes that on occasion experiments requiring imaging of live cells for extended periods may not be possible in off-peak or weekend hours.  In such instances occur, the qualified user should contact the AICF Director to discuss scheduling assistance.



Instrument Rate (RU-N) Rate (NJIT & RBHS/Other) 

Zeiss LSM 510 


$45/hr /$ 55/hr 

Zeiss Spinning Disc 


$45/hr / $55/hr 



$35/hr / $45/hr 

Zeiss Vivotome 


$20/hr / $30/hr 

Zeiss Discovery V12 


$15/hr / $20/hr 

TF-FEI Tecnai 12 TEM 


$80/hr / $100/hr 

Leica Ultramicrotome 


$20/hr / $30/hr 

Reichart Ultracut  


$15/hr / $20/hr 

Pelco Glow Discharge 


$10/run / $15/run 

Offline Imaging Workstation 


$15/hr / $20/hr 



Edward M. Bonder, Ph.D

Facility Director -- Principal Investigator

Life Sciences Center II, Room 417

Professor of Cell Biology

Department of Biological Sciences


Juan Zanin, Ph.D.

Confocal Specialist

Life Sciences Center I, Room 507

Senior Research Associate

Department of Biological Sciences


Brian Ayee

Imaging Support

Life Sciences Center II, Room 417

Graduate Student

Department of Biological Sciences