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Center of Excellence

Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt University Nikon Center of Excellence offers researchers across campus access to state-of-the-art microscopy tools. Primary goals of the Center are to drive high-impact biomedical discovery, provide first-rate support for the development of new imaging applications, and contribute to the education of the next generation of biomedical researchers. Center technologies currently emphasize live imaging using confocal and super-resolution instruments.


CofE Director

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Vanderbilt University
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
PMB 407935 U-3218
Medical Research Building III
Nashville, Tennessee 37240-7935

Systems Available

N-SIM Super-Resolution with Eclipse Ti-E Inverted Microscope

Using high frequency Structured Illumination, the Nikon N-SIM can achieve image resolution of 85nm, which was previously considered impossible with optical microscopes. Temporal resolution of 0.6 sec/ frame enables super-resolution time-lapse imaging of dynamic live cell events.

N-STORM Super-Resolution with Eclipse Ti Inverted Microscope

N-STORM is a super-resolution microscope system that combines “STochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy” technology and Nikon's Eclipse Ti research inverted microscope. The N-STORM super-resolution microscope provides dramatically enhanced resolution that is 10 times that of conventional optical microscopes.

A1R Confocal with Ti-E Inverted Microscope

Capturing high-quality confocal images at ultrahigh-speed and enhanced sensitivity with a resonant scanner and galvano scanner, Nikon's A1R is a powerful tool for the imaging and visualization of intracellular dynamics and interaction. The system comes equipped with a unique hybrid scan head incorporating both an ultra high-speed resonant scanner and a high-resolution galvano scanner, enabling simultaneous bleaching/ photoactivation and acquisition.

Spinning Disk Confocal System with FRAP and Photostimulation

The Yokogawa CSU-X1 spinning disk confocal combined with Nikon’s Ti-E inverted research microscope platform provides fast, high-resolution 4D imaging of living cells with minimal effects of photo-damage. The Ti-E microscope is equipped with Perfect Focus (PFS) to enable long time-lapse imaging without focus drift. The system is also equipped with a fast, laser-based raster-scanning device (Miniscanner) for photobleaching and photostimulation.

Eclipse Ti Inverted Microscope with Laser TIRF System

Nikon’s high performance TIRF System (H-TIRF) provides full motorized control of beam translation and focus as well as automated TIRF alignment. Different TIRF angles can be easily achieved to optimize signal-to-noise in multi-color experiments.  Combined with Nikon’s Ti-E microscope platform with the Perfect Focus stabilization device (PFS), the system provides high signal-to-noise TIRF imaging of single molecules and macromolecular structures near the coverslip surface. Nikon’s LUN-V laser combiner provides multiple output fibers and flexible laser choices enabling multiple imaging modalities to share the same laser combiner. H-TIRF is a component of the LAPPs family of modular illuminators that can be flexibly combined to create custom imaging modalities.