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Microscopy Courses and Workshops Resources

Section Overview:

A number of universities, research institutions, and commercial organizations offer excellent courses, workshops, conferences, and symposia relating to confocal microscopy and its applications. The compilation of sites provided in this section are those belonging to groups that present these offerings on a regular basis, such as annually or biannually. Other highly useful courses and instructional events occur on a more sporadic schedule, and, therefore, this list of resources should be considered as a starting, rather than an ending, point for those seeking educational opportunities in the field.

Web Articles

  • 3-D Microscopy of Living Cells - Sponsored by the Brain Research Institute and the Departments of Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of British Columbia, this course is designed to create an environment in which students having interesting biological problems are brought together with advanced instrumentation in order to increase their understanding of the three-dimensional microscopy of living cells and to develop and disseminate solutions to associated problems. The course, organized by Dr. James B. Pawley (editor of the classical volume Handbook of Biological Confocal Microscopy), is limited to 32 students and covers a variety of topics during a 12-day period in June of each year.
  • Advanced Course in Laser Scanning Microscopy - The Carl Zeiss corporation offers a range of courses on microscopy, which are held in Jena, Germany (in English) at the Carl Zeiss Center for Microscopy. These include basic and advanced courses in basic microscopy, fluorescence techniques, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.
  • Advanced Techniques in Microscopy - Conducted in the Biology Department at Temple University in Philadelphia by Dr. Joel Sheffield, this semester-long course on microscopy is designed as both an undergraduate and graduate course, but is also offered to students from outside the university. The material covers basic principles of optics and light, the nature of lenses, microscope design, contrast-enhancing techniques, confocal microscopy, fluorescence, and labeling of specimens. Also included is an introduction to digital imaging and image processing computer programs.
  • Analytical and Quantitative Light Microscopy - Offered biannually (May and October) by the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the AQLM is a comprehensive course in light microscopy for researchers in biology, medicine, and material sciences. This course, which features a large faculty of world-class experts, provides an in-depth examination of the theory of image formation and application of video methods for exploring subtle interactions between light and the specimen. The intensive one-week course is limited to 28 students per session.
  • Cellular Imaging and Confocal Techniques - This one-week course is directed towards graduate students undertaking or planning projects involving cellular imaging techniques, including confocal microscopy. The course aims at providing a thorough and up-to-date theoretical background as well as practical experience of confocal and other imaging techniques. Directing the course is Peter Wallén, from the Department of Neurosciences at the Karolinska Institutet.
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Meetings and Courses - Each year, over 5,000 scientists worldwide attend one or more of the many scientific meetings held in the award-winning Grace Auditorium at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, located just east of New York City. Complementing their meetings program is the laboratory's annual program of around 25 high-level courses that are directed primarily at late pre-doctoral and post-doctoral level scientists. Their offerings often include meetings and courses related to confocal and fluorescence microscopy, live cell imaging, and other topics of interest to microscopists. Because the subject matter varies by year, those interested should periodically check the website for the most up-to-date schedule of events.
  • Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy Short Course - The Microscopy Unit of the University of Alberta (Canada) offers confocal microscopy courses (one photon and multiphoton) twice a year, and additional courses may be scheduled based on demand. The courses, which are taught by Rakesh Bhatnagar, primarily offer hands-on training, but theoretical aspects are also included. With a maximum registration of 5 students per session, this 22-hour course can easily provide adequate attention to individuals and their educational needs.
  • Confocal Light Microscopy: Fundamentals and Biological Applications - The Center for Advanced Microscopy of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands), in collaboration with BioCentrum Amsterdam, organizes an annual 5-day course covering fluorescence and confocal microscopy in addition to a variety of topics in digital imaging, sample preparation, and live cell microscopy. The curriculum provides detailed knowledge of the working principles surrounding confocal imaging, with special emphasis on experiment related issues, such as optical aberrations, bleaching, specimen preparation and digitization. The course integrates theoretical lectures with hands-on experiments and practical experience. Experts in the field of confocal microscopy development will give an overview of "state-of-the-art" imaging techniques in biological research.
  • Courses and Workshops on Fluorescence Applications - As a service to the customers of Invitrogen, the company lists meetings, courses, and workshops on the Molecular Probes section of their website (www.probes.invitrogen.com) where biological applications of fluorescence detection and related technologies are presented and discussed. This resource should be visited periodically to determine the location and functions of the various courses available in the field.
  • EMBO Live Specimen Light Microscopy Course - This annual 2-week EMBO practical course on light microscopy is held at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany and is organized by Ernst Stelzer, Rainer Pepperkok, Maria Carmo-Fonseca, and Benjamin Geiger. Many of the lectures are provided by invited speakers and course instructors. The course is designed to teach all relevant aspects of deriving important parameters from living specimens using optical microscopy. Basic topics include transmission and fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, multi-photon microscopy, image processing, and two- and three-dimensional time-lapse microscopy. Advanced topics include Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS), Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP), Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) Microscopy, and extended-resolution microscopy.
  • Fluorescence and Confocal Microscopy - Offered annually by Douglas B. Murphy and the Microscope Facility of the John Hopkins University School of Medicine during the first quarter of the academic year, this lecture/demonstration course on the theory and application of fluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy is intended to make participants capable and knowledgeable confocal users. Sessions include fluorescence emission, filter set and lens selection, optics and resolution limits of fluorescence and confocal systems, specimen preparation and labeling techniques, and image processing and evaluation.
  • Fluorescence Lifetime and Spectral Imaging in the Biological Sciences - Sponsored by Dr. Brian Herman at the Imaging Core of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, this course is structured around symposia and workshops in June of each year. The course material focuses on sophisticated lifetime imaging (FLIM) and resonance energy transfer (FRET) fluorescence techniques in biological systems, in addition to evaluations for the potential of spectral imaging methods for discriminating fluorophores with closely related emission spectra. The symposium talks present first-hand experience from those developing and applying FLIM and spectral imaging techniques in their research. In addition, there are presentations from manufacturers describing their own technology.
  • Focus On Microscopy - Focus On Microscopy is an annual international conference that takes place at a different location each year, generally during the Spring (March and April). These conferences offer an efficient meeting point for developers and users working in confocal microscopy and other rapidly developing related fields, playing an important role in the dissemination of information about new developments, especially those involving live cell imaging and manipulation. Numerous talks, lectures, poster sessions, exhibitions, and more informal gatherings are scheduled as part of the conference program and vary in content depending on presenters and the overall conference theme.
  • Leica Advanced Microscopy Course - Advanced microscopy courses are organized by Leica Microsystems and are held annually in Heidelberg, Germany, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington DC, USA. These meetings vary in schedule and course material, but generally include topics such as digital imaging, confocal microscopy, advanced fluorescence techniques, laser microdissection, and tissue specimen preparation.
  • Microscopy and Microanalysis - An annual event co-sponsored by the Microscopy Society of America and various other organizations and societies, the Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting typically includes short courses, symposia, tutorials, exhibitions, poster sessions, and special events covering a wide array of subject matter. Those interested in submitting papers or registering for one of the meetings, which usually take place in early August, can easily do so online.
  • Microscopy/Marketing and Education (MME) Courses - A national consortium of microscopy consultants headed by Barbara Foster, the MME organizes specialized courses in fluorescence imaging and optical microscopy, including in-house training tailored to a specific laboratory or institute. Most of the courses are designed to coordinate with international society meetings and symposia around the United States.
  • Monash Micro Imaging Courses - Basic light microscopy, fluorescence and confocal microscopy 3-day courses are organized by Ian S. Harper of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Specialized live cell imaging workshops are also held throughout the year. A brochure detailing all available courses including costs is available on request or can be downloaded from the website. Workshop topics include basic optical microscopy, confocal microscopy, advanced fluorescence techniques, live cell imaging, digital imaging, image analysis, and stereology.
  • Optical Microscopy and Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences - Annual 8 day course on microscopy in the animal, plant and material sciences held at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The course, which is organized and directed by Colin Izzard (SUNY, Albany), is primarily designed for research scientists, physicians, postdoctoral trainees and advanced graduate students. Non-biologists seeking a comprehensive introduction to microscopy and video imaging can also benefit greatly from the course. Topics include basic principles of microscopy, contrast-enhancing techniques, fluorescence, confocal and multiphoton microscopy, digital imaging, and fluorescent probes.
  • Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy - Hosted by Dr. Simon Watkin's group in the Center for Biological Imaging at the University of Pittsburgh, this one-week intensive course covers all aspects of the technology from the principles of fluorescence imaging to multidimensional imaging in living cells. Lectures dealing with the theory, mechanics, and application of fluorescent imaging methods will be intermingled with extended laboratory practicals in which students will be encouraged to use their own specimens, to optimize the utility of the course. Held in July of each year at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in the village of Salisbury Cove, Maine, the course is limited to approximately 30 students per session.
  • Sydney Key Center Courses in Microscopy - The Australian Key Center for Microscopy and Microanalysis at the University of Sydney conducts regular training courses. These courses cover a wide variety of topics including light microscopy, confocal microscopy, specimen preparation, stereology, and image analysis. Courses are free for students, but also open to external visitors for a nominal fee.

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