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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Blizard Advanced Light Microscopy Facility

BALM provides high-tech multi-million pound advanced imaging technology. Using the equipment in BALM you will be able to observe, record and analyse your experiments obtaining picture perfect images and cutting-edge scientific insights.

We provide a broad range of equipment and services to suit everyone from experienced light microscopy specialists, to people who have never touched a microscope before. In BALM you will find the right tools, guidance and friendly support to get the results you need. Don't hesitate to get in contact and get professional advice on the design of your experiments.

If you have any comments or questions about BALM, or simply need more information and want to contact us, click on the contact tab below.

A list of the cost per hour of equipment.

Equipment Cost per hour Cost per Hour External User
LSM510Meta inverted Confocal £20 £25
LSM710 Meta Confocal £30 £35
Spinning Disk £12 (£80 for overnight) £15
Leica Epifluorescences £12 £15
Timelapse £12 (£80 for overnight) £15
Stereology £12 £15
PALM laser ablation £15 £20

Technician time, excluding basic training, is charged at £30 per hour (£35 per hour for external users).

Currently, use of image processing is free of charge.

It is possible to pay in advance for a discounted rate.

For more information please contact the BALM team (details under contact tab).

Charging is based on booking and usage. If you book the equipment from 9am to 12pm but only use it for one hour, you will be charged for three hours. This is because when you book the equipment it is reserved for you. If you are 30 minutes late or more for your booking someone else may take your slot but you will still be required to pay for the first 30 minutes.

If you overrun your booked time, please note this on the calendar, or the BALM staff will amend it for you.

You have 24 hours after your imaging session to amend the calender if you have finished your experiment early or it didn't work. You will be charged for amendments after this time.

Advanced light microscopy is a complex art riddled with technical terms. Here we explain what the terms mean to help you make the right decisions about your experiments.

  • The microscope has stopped working
  • Choosing the correct fluorophore
  • Confocal versus epifluorescence
  • Magnification and resolution
  • Filters

If the microscope has stopped working properly:
Firstly, please don’t panic. 80 per cent of problems with the microscopes can be solved in minutes.

If there is oil on the air lens and your sample looks blurry:
Clean the lens first with 100 per cent Ethanol. This should remove the oil.

If you have accidentally crashed the objective into your sample:
Please tell BALM staff immediately and stop using the microscope. If this happens after hours, switch off the microscope and put a sign on it to warn others.

If the software has stopped working properly:
Check the amount of data you have in your account. If its more than your quota simply delete any old data and make more room. If you have room but the software isn’t working then exit and restart the software. If this doesn’t work then switch off the computer, switch off the hardware and reset from the beginning. You will have to wait for the lasers to cool. If you are resetting the system please leave the mercury lamp on.

BALM's mission is to provide an imaging resource for the Blizard Institute and Queen Mary with cutting edge tools.

Check back here regularly for news and look at the events section of the website to see what is coming up.

The Advanced light microscopy imaging facility is happy to help with all aspects of projects related to imaging. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a question, suggestion or a project proposal.

Office: Room LG02 Blizard Building South Basement

Head of core facility: Dr Jan Soetaert j.soetaert@qmul.ac.uk

Phone: 020 7882 2406

Microscopy Specialist: Dr Belén Martín-Martín b.martin-martin@qmul.ac.uk

Phone 020 7882 2407

Room LG02
Blizard Advanced Light Microscopy Core Facility
Blizard Institute 
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary University of London
4 Newark Street
London,  E1 2AT
United Kingdom