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Using the Centre

How to prepare for your visit

To collect proper data from imaging, you need to prepare ahead. Ask yourself:  

  • What is the scientific question you want to answer? Where is your signal located in the cells?
  • What controls are needed to distinguish a meaningful experimental result?
  • What is the resolution you need? How many dimensions? (x, y, z, t, multi-color)
  • Do you need to fix your samples or use live specimens?
  • If live imaging is required, what are you expecting in terms of movements? For how long will you need to image? At what frame rate? Do you need environmental control?
  • Before considering which dye or fluorescent probes to use, or how to prepare your samples, visit our website or contact us to check the compatibility of your experimental design and needs with the equipment offered by the Centre.  

Our policies

The goal of the CMCI is to get users high quality results in as little time possible. These policies are in place so that our users can make the most of our facility and can use the equipment properly and efficiently.


To access the CMCI and use the equipment you must complete the following steps:

  1. Registration - complete the online new user form. After receiving it, we will contact your supervisor to authorize your subscription/training/usage and provide payment details. To do this you will need:
    •   Your contact details
    •   Your supervisor's name and contact details
    •   Emergency contact details
    •   A short research project outline (to help CMCI understand your microscopy needs)
    •   Information about your samples, including potential health and safety issues
  2. New user meeting: You will be contacted to attend a short meeting
  3. Training: a training session will be arranged at the new user meeting, based on equipment needs
  4. Booking instrument time: use the online scheduling
  5. Acknowledgements: use of the CMCI requires agreement of our acknowledgements policy

One of the primary objectives of CMCI is to provide trainees with microscopy skills applicable to the biological sciences. Thus, user training is an essential part of our program. Besides benefitting trainees, it ensures efficient and appropriate operation of our expensive, uniquely-configured equipment.

These rules are subject to change if deemed necessary by the Imaging Facility staff or directors.

  1. Before using the Imaging Facility ALL USERS MUST meet Requirements to use the centre:
    • Be trained by the operations manager. Users will not be permitted to train other new users.
  2. Users can only work on instruments they have been trained on.
  3. Users MUST be part of a laboratory or group that is registered with the facility and has provided account information for billing of fees.
  4. Initial training sessions will be scheduled according to user prior knowledge or experimental needs and the user is required to bring a sample similar to one they will be using for their project to work with during the training session. This makes the training more specific to a given application and helps address specific sample issues.
  5. Users are required to sign the instrument logbook and include the time they start using the equipment and the time they finish. Users will be charged for time used with a minimum charge of one hour for each booking. If users consistently overbook time they will be charged for time booked, not time used.
  6. Users will NOT be charged if the equipment is not functioning. Please inform  the operations manager or the facility director immediately if there is a problem with the equipment.
  7. The facility assumes no responsibility for data stored on the instrument computers. Images left on the computers for more than one week can be deleted without notice.
  8. It is forbidden to connect any USB-storage device to the instrument and analysis computers
  9. The facility offers free of charge access to the CMCI data server in order to store user data during their project time. We ask upon the end of a project that data must be removed from the server and to saved in the user laboratory back up system. The CMCI cannot be held liable for the loss of data in case of server failure.
  10. When advanced technical assistance is required it will be by appointment only.
  11. User has the responsibility to learn and follow equipments’ specific rules.
  12. In any publications you have, that include images taken in the facility, you are asked to include standard acknowledgement and follow the centre Acknowledgement policy.
  13. All access to facilities and equipment at CMCI complies with our Booking/Cancellation policy.
  14. During their training each user will have to read and sign the rules and guidelines that are applied to the CMCI.

A booking policy applies to use of the instruments to facilitate fair and equitable access for all users.

  • Users are not allowed to share their scheduling account.
  • The maximum length of a booking and the number of bookings that can simultaneously exist for a single user is determined on a instrument-by-instrument basis.
  • Users must sign in the log book with the time that they start using the equipment and the time they finish. Users will be charged for time used with a minimum charge of one hour for each booking. If users consistently overbook time they will be charged for time booked, not time used.
  • Last minute cancellation: If users can’t show up for time they have booked and they do not cancel a booking 24 hours in advance they will be charged half price for the entire booking unless someone else uses the microscope at that time. If your live cell experiments don’t permit this type of warning, make sure you let other user know by sending an email to the mailing list of the corresponding microscope to allow them book your time slot.
  • No show policy: If users do not show up during the first 60 minutes of their booking the instrument is considered available for others to use. The user who booked the equipment will be billed half price for the time booked.
    • Subscription plan holders: Users who consistently do not show up for appointments will be billed regardless of whether their laboratory holds a subscription plan. This rule is to ensure that the equipment housed within the centre is used efficiently and is accessible to all members of the centre.
  • Evenings and week-ends: Experienced users MUST BE APPROVED by a microscope specialist to operate an instrument outside of normal working hours (weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). After-hours users must have sufficient experience (10 sessions of logged use) and must demonstrate that they are capable of operating the equipment without assistance. They must be comfortable with the microscope software and hardware to the extent that they are able to successfully troubleshoot and address minor equipment problems independently.

  • According to Concordia EHS policy, handling samples above biohazard Level 2 will not be allowed in the facility.
  • Imaging samples at biohazard level 2 will require special training.

  1. Publications (posters or papers) that include images or data obtained in the CMCI must be acknowledged. This is important for helping the CMCI to leverage funding. In addition, when writing grants, you will be able to show that you have access to a facility that has the required infrastructure and technical expertise to help you address your scientific questions.
    • Example of acknowledgement: "The authors acknowledge the Centre for Microscopy and Cellular Imaging funded by Concordia University, Montreal, Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.”
  2. We request a copy of the publication in PDF format, so that we can keep track of successful research projects that were accomplished using the Centre.
  3. Please consider the CMCI staff as co-authors on publications where they have performed experiments for you or participate actively in your project.

The CMCI welcome all researchers from Concordia University, other universities, and industrial clients. We are interested in your research project so that we can direct you to the best imaging solution. Users with specific equipment needs will be accommodated to the best of our ability. That is why prior to using any equipment, new users must provide information on the research they will conduct at CMCI.

Register as a new user

To register as a new user, please fill out our new users form.

Consult our Fees page to find out hourly and annual rates for:

  • Microscope use
  • Technical support
  • Image analysis
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