Biological Imaging Core Facility

bov RPE VSVG GFP transf Thurs (15) 9AM
Viewed with a confocal microscope, the retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) from a bovine (cow) eye display tight packing reminiscent of a honeycomb. Actin, a cytoskeletal protein found in the junctions between neighboring cells is labeled with a red fluorescent probe. Some RPE cells in this image have been transfected with a virus, causing them to express high levels of green fluorescent protein (GFP). GFP, originally isolated from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, has become a valuable tool for scientists studying protein expression in living cells and animals. (Image courtesy of Dr. Enrique Rodriguez Boulan, Cornell University and Dr. Robert Fariss, NEI Biological Imaging Core.)

Core Chief: Robert N. Fariss, Ph.D.
Building 6, room 202
6 Center Drive, National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0606
Phone (301) 496-2829
FAX (301) 480-7939


High resolution fluorescence imaging of ocular tissues presents unique opportunities as well as technical challenges for scientists attempting to visualize pathological changes in the cornea, lens, retina or retinal pigment epithelium. Exploiting the transparency of the vertebrate eye and innovations in ocular imaging, vision researchers and ophthalmologist have gained unprecedented insight into a wide array of ocular processes.

Mission Statement

The National Eye Institute’s Biological Imaging Core provides NEI scientists with a wide range of high resolution imaging and analysis applications including confocal microscopy, multi-photon imaging, total internal reflectance fluorescence (TIRF) imaging, laser capture microdissection, in vivo and in vitro imaging. The primary objective of the Biological Imaging Core is to pair state-of-the-art instrumentation with novel imaging approaches to provide vision scientists new avenues for studying ocular disease processes.

Facilities and Equipment

  • Olympus FV1000 Confocal + Spectra Physics Mai Tai “Deep See” Multi-photon Laser
  • Zeiss LSM 700 Confocal Microscope – 4 laser lines/ motorized stage/ live cell imaging.
  • Zeiss LSM 780 Confocal Microscope – 7 laser lines / 32 channel GaAsP for spectral imaging
  • Zeiss Imager Z1 – Image acquisition
  • Zeiss PALM Laser Capture Microdissection System
  • Zeiss Total Internal Reflectance Fluorescence (TIRF) Microscope System
  • Phoenix Labs Micron II Rodent Fundus Imaging System


  • Sample preparation for high resolution fluorescence imaging
  • Guidance in refining in vivo and in vitro imaging of ocular tissues
  • Training in image analysis and quantification
  • Rodent fundus imaging


Name Title E-mail
Robert N. Fariss, Ph.D. Core Chief, Associate Researcher
Maria M. Campos, M.D. Staff Scientist
Chun Y. Gao, M.D., Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Last Reviewed: 
November 2014