Advanced light microscopy core facilities: Balancing service, science and career

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • The German Bioimaging Network - (Author)
  • Core Facility Light Microscopy
  • University of Konstanz
  • Heidelberg University 
  • University Hospital Frankfurt
  • German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
  • Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
  • Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
  • Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Heidelberg
  • German Center for Infection Research
  • Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)
  • Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • University of Cologne
  • Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
  • Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics


Core Facilities (CF) for advanced light microscopy (ALM) have become indispensable support units for research in the life sciences. Their organizational structure and technical characteristics are quite diverse, although the tasks they pursue and the services they offer are similar. Therefore, throughout Europe, scientists from ALM-CFs are forming networks to promote interactions and discuss best practice models. Here, we present recommendations for ALM-CF operations elaborated by the workgroups of the German network of ALM-CFs, German Bio-Imaging (GerBI). We address technical aspects of CF planning and instrument maintainance, give advice on the organization and management of an ALM-CF, propose a scheme for the training of CF users, and provide an overview of current resources for image processing and analysis. Further, we elaborate on the new challenges and opportunities for professional development and careers created by CFs. While some information specifically refers to the German academic system, most of the content of this article is of general interest for CFs in the life sciences. Microsc. Res. Tech. 79:463-479, 2016.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-479
Number of pages17
JournalMicroscopy research and technique
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2016

External IDs

PubMed 27040755
ORCID /0000-0002-7133-7474/work/142251278


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards


  • Core facility administration, Instrument performance tests, Microscopy room requirements, User and staff training, User/staff/instrument ratio

Library keywords