Core Facilities

Core facilities provide expert training, scientific resources and equipment that might not otherwise be affordable or accessible. The BRI offers a range of core facilities to ensure that BRI members have access to the most advanced technologies for neuroscience research. For information on UCLA's wide variety of core facilities, click here. The following core facilities are operated by the BRI:

Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Facility

The Facility recently acquired one of Leica’s latest confocal microscopes, the TCS-SP8.  Besides normal confocal microscopic acquisition and processing, the new system has a white light laser allowing choice of optimal wavelengths for fluorochrome excitation, and features capabilities for single molecule detection (SMD), Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM), and Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS).  The system also has Leica’s new module for a superresolution technique named Hyvolution, a joint venture of Leica and SVI (Scientific Volume Imaging) which can allow lateral resolution of images down to 140 nm.

The Facility also offers:

  • a wide field fluorescence microscope dedicated to FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) imaging;
  • a home-built system for ALEX (alternating laser excitation spectroscopy);
  • a lab that is mostly dedicated to macroscale imaging but also has one upright and one inverted microscope set up for microinjection, fluorescence wide field time lapse (inverted) and multispectral unmixing (upright);
  • a Yokogawa laser-scanning spinning disk microscope system with a Leica DMI6000 inverted microscope and an Andor EMCCD camera; 
  • a small animal imaging system:  the Maestro II from CRi for multispectral fluorescence unmixing; and
  • a Leica LMD7000 laser microdissection system with a new 64 bit computer and advanced software, which is used for isolation of cells from within tissues for downstream processing and analysis.

Available technologies include fluorescence point-scanning and spinning disk laser-scanning confocal microscopy, STED (STimulated Emission Depletion) superresolution microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), alternating laser excitation spectroscopy (ALEX), microscopic multispectral fluorescence and wide field color unmixing, microinjection, laser microdissection, single molecule detection and the new Hyvolution imaging technique.

Drs. Laurent Bentolila and Matt Schibler (originally in charge of the facility in the Gonda Center) are responsible for training, operation, and upkeep of the facility.

For more information, please visit the facility website at:

For specific questions please contact Dr. Matt Schibler at:

Microscopic Techniques Laboratory

The Microscopic Techniques Laboratory is located in the SEMEL Institute for Neuroscience in room 78-177. This facility can assist you in preparing tissue specimens for light microscopic observation and consult with investigators and their staff on best methodology. The Core provides service and training in various histological procedures. These include immunohistochemistry as well as standard stains like H&E or cresyl violet as well as more specialized stains. The Core facility has setups for paraffin embedding and sectioning, slide preparation for in situ hybridization, cryostat sectioning as well as plastic embedding and sectioning. The laboratory also has a Nikon photomicroscope with a digital camera.  

To use the laboratory and its facilities, you must obtain an Investigator Authorization Form from the Microscopic Techniques Laboratory. For prices, questions, or consultation, please contact Chunni Zhu (Facility Director) or Janna Abad (Staff Research Associate) at 310-825-9848 or via email at or  

Reservations for Core equipment may be made here.

Electron Microscopy Core Facility 

The Electron Microscopy Core Facility, in the Center for Health Sciences room 63-377, houses a JEOL 100CX transmission electron microscope. A TMC MTX and Reichert Ultracut ultramicrotome are available for use by trained personnel. (NOTE: The facility does not supply diamond knives; you must use your own). The Core provides service, advice, and training in fixation and embedding of specimens, thin sectioning, and use of the electron microscopes (with or without assistance), gold labeling, negative stain, and light microscopy of plastic embedded materials. The facility offers advice on appropriate preparatory procedures and other technical matters. Training and assistance in the use of the electron microscope is also offered.

For prices, questions, or consultation, please contact Chunni Zhu (Facility Director) or Janna Abad (Staff Research Associate) at 310-206-8054 or via email at or  

Reservations for Core equipment may be made here.