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Microscopy at the Sainsbury Laboratory covers a wide range of techniques from macro-imaging/photography through to stereofluorescence, confocal, raman and scanning electron microscopy. Support facilities include a well-equipped prep room, sample incubation growth chamber, uninterrupted back-up power supply (for high-end confocal and SEM systems) and data storage on a central server. An advanced workstation contains various tools for 4D analysis including Imaris (4D rendering and tracking), Huygens (deconvolution and 3D rendering) and offline versions of the software used to run the facility microscopes.

SLCU has the following microscopy equipment:

- Light Microscopy
Confocal microscopy
Scanning Electron Microscopy
Atomic Force Microscopy


Access to the Microscopy Core Facility

In addition to members of the SLCU, the core facility also supports research carried out in other departments including Plant Sciences, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Materials Science and Geology. Access to use the facility can be arranged by contacting

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Rare mineral discovered in plants for first time

Mar 05, 2018

A rare mineral that holds enticing potential as a new material for industrial and medical applications has been discovered on alpine plants through a collaboration between Sainsbury Laboratory and Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

Plants feel the heat

Feb 13, 2018

Sainsbury Laboratory scientists have solved a 79-year-old mystery by discovering how plants vary their response to heat stress depending on the time of day.

Fast-talking plants increase flower production within 24-hours of soil nutrient application

Jan 24, 2018

The molecular mechanisms enabling plants to quickly adapt their rate of flower production in response to changing nutrient levels in soil have been revealed by researchers at the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

Re-wiring cells by crossing kingdoms

Jan 22, 2018

Game-changing synthetic biology developments that could help address global health and agriculture challenges will be examined at a three-day international synthetic biology symposium at the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, this spring (16-18 April 2018).

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