Course Coordinators: Professors Heather McFarlane, Sergey Plotnikov, Ulrich Tepass

Course date: Winter semester of 2023 (February and March)

Enrolment limit: 8 students

Weight: One module (0.25 FCE)

Location: St George campus (RW and ESC Buildings)

Course Description:

This graduate level course will provide an introduction to microscopy and digital imaging in the biological sciences. The course consists of lectures, discussions, and presentations that will enable the students to obtain and interpret high quality microscope data and to understand and assess potential artifacts. The course also places a strong emphasis on appropriate sample preparation and advanced microscopy usage (e.g., confocal microscopy, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging, and multiphoton microscopy). Particular emphasis will be placed on ‘picking the right tool for the job’.

Topics to be covered include: 

  • Basic principles of microscope design, digital image recording, image resolution and contrast;
  • Fluorescence microscopy techniques – fluorescent probes, fluorescent biosensors, TIRF, FRET, and FRAP;
  • Confocal and multiphoton microscopy;

Evaluation (subject to change)

Presentations                             3 x 20%

Written report                            20%

Participation in discussions        20%


Some background in cell or developmental biology. Prior experience in microscopy (ideally, training on one of the imaging systems installed in the CSB imaging facility) is desired.

Last updated on August 10th, 2023