Training at BIF is by request and depends on the availability of the instrument. Training sessions will be done in groups of no more than 3. If an individual session is specifically requested, additional instrument time and technician time charges may apply.

Our goal is to place you in training as quickly as possible, but keep in mind that we do have limited space in each training session. We kindly ask for patience during the times we have an influx of training requests.

Requesting Training:

1) Before requesting training, please check out the instrument specific information regarding training procedures (see below). If you hae any questions about which instrument best fits your needs, please contact BIF staff ( prior to requesting training.

2) Send your request for training via email to BIF staff (j-hornick@northwestern.eduor request training through NUCore. We will inform you of the next available training date and ensure that you have any relevant information prior to training.

3) Upon requesting training, you will be asked to download and complete the New User Application form. This form can be found here. Bring this with you for your first training session.

4) Any person wishing to use any of the Confocal systems must complete the Office for Research Safety’s Basic Laser Safety Training before beginning training on the microscope.

If you have any questions regarding training, please contact BIF Staff.

Confocal Microscopy Training

BIF has three Confocal systems — a Leica SP5 Confocal Laser Scanning System, a Zeiss 510 Meta/ConfoCor3 laser scanning confocal and a Leica spinning disk confocal. The two laser scanning systems are fairly similar and both produce quality images. The spinning disk is specifically designed for live, highly dynamic systems. If you need advice about which microscope is best suited for your research, please contact Jessica Hornick (

The training is 2 days, approximately 2-3 hours per session.
Training costs are detailed on the Rates page and are per person. Training sessions are group sessions of up to 3 people.

During these sessions, you will learn how to optimize and capture images of multiple fluorophores. The first session is based largely on imaging standard, fixed slides. For the second session, trainees are encouraged to bring in research specimens for imaging; however, please do not expect to collect data during training. Rather, emphasis will be ongetting comfortable with the microscope and optimizing imaging settings.

BIF does not offer training every week on the confocal microscopes. Generally training is offered every other week — however, this is dependent on availability and demand.

Transmission Electron Microscopy Training

If you have questions regarding the capabilities of the JEOL 1230 TEM and how it relates with your research, please contact our EM specialist, Charlene Wilke (

Training consists of 3 days. Training sessions typically are Monday, Wednesday and Friday and run for three hours.
Training costs are detailed on the Rates page and are per person. Training sessions are group sessions of up to 3 people.

During the first session, you will be working almost exclusively with a standard sample. If you have material that you would like to image, plan to bring it with you on Wednesday or Friday.

All users must complete basic room temperature TEM training before beginning cryo-TEM and Vitrobot training. There is no set time after your TEM training is complete as to when you can begin cryo-training. This decision is made by BIF Management and Specialists after a user has displayed adequate skill in room temperature TEM processes.

BIF does not offer training every week for the TEM. Generally training is offered every other week — however, this is dependent on availability of the EM specialist and the instrument.

Specimen Preparation Training

BIF offers training on all specimen preparation equipment by appointment only. For information regarding our specimen prep equipment, please visit our equipment page or contact Charlene Wilke for technical questions.

Specimen prep training is not offered on a regular basis — please contact BIF Staff ( or 847-491-2842) to set up a training.