MDI Biological Laboratory
INBRE course

Maine Microscopy: Foundations and Fundamentals

“The microscope with its accessories is by far the least understood, the most inefficiently operated, and the most abused of all laboratory instruments.” – Charles Shillaber

Decades later, this quote still rings true. Bad microscopy practices continue undermining research. With studies showing over 60% of published images contain major errors and that many biologists lack expertise in proper image processing, it doesn't have to be this way. Taking this microscopy course enables you to implement best practices that meet today's standards for scientific rigor and reproducibility. Optimizing your experiment planning, imaging and analysis skills will strengthen your research and accelerate discoveries in your field.

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Application Deadline: 07/15/2024


A microscopy course for Maine scientists at all levels, including graduate students, postdoctoral trainees, research assistants, and junior faculty who want to understand current imaging technology and how technical decisions impact final image products more fully.

This course will cover everything from the basic optics principles necessary to understand the origin of an image to the advanced technology equipped with high-end microscopes.

Lectures from a slate of expert faculty will be mixed with practical exercises and journal club discussions. A major focus will be on data collection and image processing, with emphasis on best practices for writing methods sections in a way that promotes rigor and reproducibility.

The last 2 days (August 5 and 6th) of the course will give interested students the chance to choose a-la-carte a microscope or a technique that they want to further explore using their own samples or by shadowing a MDIBL researcher. These 2 days are non-mandatory.

Our goal is to provide students with enough background to properly perform qualitative or quantitative fluorescence microscopy experiments that can be shared with their colleges back at their home institution.

The course will have a limited number of students to facilitate hands-on microscopy work. Participants will receive readings in advance to jump start discussions and identify specific topics that may benefit from additional instructor time.

Course Directors

Frederic Bonnet

MDI Biological Laboratory

Karissa Tilbury

The University of Maine


There is no tuition or registration fee for this course, which includes housing and meals. However, students must fund their own travel to and from MDIBL.

This research training opportunity is supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103423.

The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.