Frequently Asked Questions

Please find answers to common questions we receive from users. If you don’t find the answer to what you are looking for please contact us.

Who can use the equipment listed for each core?

All of the microscopes listed on this site are available for use by researchers from UCSF, UCSF affiliates, and other University of California campuses. Researchers from other academic institutions or corporate users can also gain access after execution of a business agreement with UCSF. Please refer to our New User Guide for instructions on how to establish contracts and iLab accounts. 

Can I get assistance in planning my experiments?

Yes, we are here to help. Please contact us if you have questions about sample preparation, techniques, or experimental design.

How should I prepare my sample for the best results?

For the best results you should prepare your sample with a #1.5 coverslip. If you are doing live cell imaging make sure that you select an appropriate imaging dish. Standard polystyrene tissue culture plates will not provide good images. A detailed write-up on choosing the correct plates or imaging dishes can be found at

Do I need training to operate the equipment?

Some of our equipment requires an introductory training and completion of safety courses prior to autonomous operation. Training can be scheduled by contacting the instrument core’s staff. Please refer to the instrument page for contacts and training requirements.

How can I access the instruments’ calendars?

You will first need to have an iLabs account linked to a valid speed type. Please refer to our New Users Guide for information on how to set up your iLab account.