Bret L. Judson, Imaging Facility Manager, Boston College

As a core facility manager, one often struggles with new users wanting to use the “latest and greatest” equipment that is available. Often, the “latest and greatest” will intimidate and deter new users from making the gains in their research that they are capable of. For example, training on a confocal microscope may take three or more sessions to reach independence from the core facility manager. When a new user is trying to learn the specifics of the lab protocols in addition to the complexities of the equipment, frustration can set in. A microscope that is easy to use, while remaining flexible for a variety of techniques, is a welcome addition.

At the Boston College Imaging Facility, we needed a microscope that streamlined training while also remaining flexible. I met with my local representative of the EVOS™ FL Imaging System and also spoke with several more traditional microscope representatives to test their offerings in this capacity. I was quickly impressed with the EVOS FL microscope: it took less than 5 minutes to unbox the instrument and to have it operational. Other key features of the EVOS FL system were the objective choices, on-screen viewing (no eyepieces), stage flexibility, ease of use, camera integration, and environmental consciousness.

When choosing an objective, we are not limited to low-power observation; all objectives are supported, including oil immersion. In a core facility that uses all specimen size scales, having a range of objectives is very important. In addition, the camera integrated into the EVOS FL microscope body allows for easy image capture and simple movie creation. Files are typically saved as TIFF images for ease of integration into image processing programs like ImageJ. All observation is done via an LCD screen, making imaging and training very easy—you can easily point out features of interest and eliminate guesswork.

The fact that the EVOS FL system is easy to use is in no way indicative of how powerful it is. Even for absolute beginners, training is very intuitive and requires almost no time; a typical training session might be 10–15 minutes before users can operate the system unassisted. In the end, the choice to fill this particular need within my core facility was an easy one. Our EVOS FL system has been in near-daily use for the last two years, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering a microscope purchase as part of a sound decision-making strategy.


Bret L. Judson is the Imaging Facility Manager at Boston College within the Department of Biology, and teaches a cell imaging course in addition to managing the core facility. His research interests lie in the field of cell biology, with an emphasis on using microscopy-based approaches to solve biological questions. All images shown were taken by students in the Advanced Lab in Cell Imaging course at Boston College.

 

FluoCells™ Prepared Slide #1 imaged at 40x on the EVOS™ FL Imaging System with the EVOS DAPI, GFP, and Texas Red™ Light Cubes.

A low-magnification view of a sycamore leaf with attached filamentous fungi imaged on the EVOS™ FL Imaging System with the EVOS GFP Light Cube.
A section of a red mulberry leaf imaged on the EVOS™ FL Imaging System with the EVOS DAPI and GFP Light Cubes.
A human hair showing the follicle and shaft imaged on the EVOS™ FL Imaging System with the EVOS GFP Light Cube.

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