Bioimaging Unit


Since their introduction and widespread use in the late 17th Century, microscopes have moved from qualitative, image-collecting tools to automated, complex instruments capable of acquiring information-rich images. Indeed, microscopy now underpins a lot of biomedical research and is being used to provide the spatial context to many emerging ‘omics’ techniques. Observing a sample is often insufficient; there is a need to back-up these observations with quantitative information answer often complex biomedical questions. The quality of these observations and data are only as good as the quality of the microscope used to make them: thus, it is important that microscope ‘quality’ is understood, documented and made available with the image. With this information to hand, researchers and the public will have full confidence in the imaging data collected, interpreted and published from such instruments.

The problem is that standardisation for fluorescence microscopy is not widely practised in the scientific community: a recent large (from approximately 200 imaging labs) global microscopy-user community survey highlighted the inconsistencies when it comes to choosing which microscope Quality Control (QC) metrics to record and how frequently they are performed. Alarmingly some microscopes used in publications receive little in the way of quality control.

Paradoxically, enforced virtual communication methods over the pandemic have brought together communities, and this has benefitted the formation of QUAREP-LiMi (QUality Assessment and REProducibility for Instruments & Images in Light Microscopy,  Members of the BioImaging facility team have played an important role in this. QUAREP-LiMi brings together over 270 microscopists; researchers; manufacturers; national and international standard-setting organisations and scientific publishers.  The initial aim is to gain consensus and identify a set of QC tests that should be performed on microscopes at defined intervals. Work will then lead onto standardising QC samples and automating QC data capture and analysis. This will, we hope, ‘demystify’ the subject and encourage good practise for microscope maintenance and promote standardisation between labs and research facilities employing light microscopy.   

Alex Laude / Glyn Nelson / Veronika Boczonadi

Nature Method published two stories - 27/05/2022

Two stories were published online in the Technology Features section of Nature Methods about the work in QUAREP-LiMi:
  1. Imaging standards to ease reproducibility and the everyday
  2. The making of microscope camera standards
They will be printed in the July edition of Nature Methods.

Recently published articles - 11/03/2022

  1. Glyn Nelson’s recent Focal Plane blog post:
  2. Our nature methods comment article:
  3. Our white paper:

Illumination Power and Illumination Stability


Detection System Performance

Uniformity of Illumination Field- Flatness

Uniformity of Illumination Field- Flatness

System Chromatic Aberration and Co-Registration

System Chromatic Aberration and Co-Registration

Lateral and Axial Resolution

Lateral and Axial Resolution

Microscopy Data Provenance and QC Metadata

White Paper

Overall Planning and Funding

Image Quality

Microscopy Publication Standards

Image Visualization and Analysis