Biological imaging

Platform services

Electron microscopy
Light microscopy
In vivo imaging
Small animal molecular imaging / NanoSPECT/CT


Biological imaging ranges from the visualization of ions, molecules, cells and tissues to the non-invasive imaging of full size animals. The importance of imaging has grown tremendously since the development of methods and markers for live cell imaging, such as green fluorescent proteins confocal microscopy, as well as novel microscopic principles. Different in vivo imaging modalities such as computer tomography (CT), single photon emission computer tomography (SPECT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has given us tools to visualize structure, metabolism and function in a living body.

Modern imaging requires sophisticated instrumentation for data acquisition and methods of bioinformatics and data handling for their storage and analysis. The prerequisite for live cell imaging is that the equipment is near to the laboratories and animal centres. Therefore, each biocenter has confocal microscopes, video microscopes, and transmission electron microscopes for imaging of cells and tissues. However, in the National Imaging Infrastructure Network of Biocenter Finland (NIIN), different biocenters have been granted specific spearheaded tasks. Helsinki and Turku are focused on the recent developments of new imaging technologies including high-resolution STED, PALM and STORM microscopy as well as high content screening at cellular and molecular level. Turku Bioimaging hosts some of these most recent technologies and has a high-resolution optical imaging core service at the BF level.

High resolution electron cryo-microscopy, electron tomography and three-dimensional image reconstruction for nanoscale structures are available at the Institute of Biotechnology in the University of Helsinki. In vivo imaging facilities include instrumentation in PET in Turku, MRI in Kuopio and Helsinki, as well as optical methods in Helsinki and Turku.

Also University of Jyväskylä Imaging facility participates in the Biocenter Finland National Imaging Infrastructure Network activities.

Electron microscopy

EM platform services include:
- personal user support and general support activities: e.g. consultation on experimental set up; sample preparation; choice of instruments, imaging metdods; image analysis; user training & user guides;
- maintenance of imaging systems: instrument maintenance, cleaning, check-ups and calibrations, management of instrument problems etc.
- teaching activities: lecture and practical courses for MSc & graduate students & postdoctoral fellows.

Helsinki Institute of Life Science - HiLIFE
BI Electron Microscopy Unit: Electron tomography & data processing; 3D Serial imaging on SEM; Correlative light-electron microscopy
CryoEM Unit: CryoEM & cryotomography; Hybrid approaches to structural biology; Data processing
Biocenter Oulu
Biocenter Oulu Tissue Imaging Center (TIC): Mouse phenotyping; FIB-SEM

Light microscopy

Helsinki Institute of Life Science - HiLIFE
Biomedicum Helsinki Imaging Unit (BIU): Advanced widefield fluorescence microscopy; Multichannel total internal reflection microscopy; Superresolution microscopy; Laser scanning confocal microscopy; Multiphoton microscopy; Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy; High content microscopy; Optical projection tomography; Preclinical fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging; Wide selection of tools for image deconvolution, volume rendering, other post-processing and analysis.
BI Light Microscopy Unit (BI-LMU):  multiphoton, point scanning and spinning disk confocal imaging, TIRF, fluorescence lifetime and homoFRET imaging, high content confocal and wide field imaging and wide field fluorescence imaging. All methods are available for both live and fixed samples. Data storage and cell culture facilities are also provided.

Biocenter Kuopio
BCK cell and tissue imaging unit: two user-friendly confocal microscopes for high- and super-resolution imaging of both fixed and live cells and tissues as well as molecular dynamics in live cells. A widefield fluorescence microscope equipped with a microinjection device and relief contrast technology is also available. Moreover, the infrastructure also comprises a histology laboratory equipped with modern devices and services for sample processing.

Biocenter Oulu
BCO Tissue Imaging Center (TIC): TIC offers access to advanced live cell imaging (spinning disk confocal with TIRF and FRAP units), state-of-the-art point scanning confocal microscopes, digital holographic microscope and optical projection tomography (OPT). There is also an access to optical coherence tomography (OCT), microCT, and MRI services via Oulu Bioimaging OBI-network. TIC-BCO also provides complementary services together with the Center for Machine Vision Research (CMV) for customizable image analysis and for data processing that are based on the state-of-the-art computer vision methods.

Faculty of Medicine and Life Science (Tampere)
BMT imaging facility: Tampere facility focuses on mesoscopic imaging of tissues, biomaterials and advanced cell cultures. At the moment the facility consist of variety of imaging systems, including several widefield fluorescence microscopes, two Zeiss Apotome systems, Andor confocal spinning-disk system with FRAP unit, Olympus deconvolution system with dip objectives and Cell-IQ long time lapse and analysis system.

BioCity Turku
Turku Bioimaging (TBI) & Cell imaging core (CIC): The numerous microscopes offered comprise STED and STORM super-resolution with possibilities of broad multimodal imaging, including FLIM, multiphoton microscopy, TIRF, high-throughput and highly sensitive confocal microscopy, and laser-capture microdissection. A special feature is the possibility to combine STED super-resolution with AFM and FCS. There is a state-of-the art cell sorting and flow-cytometric unit, which complements and facilitates the live cell imaging technologies. TBI also offers tailored image analysis and processing services, especially through the BioImageXD software platform and other software products. The operating principle is to have a continuum from advanced live cell modalities to modalities that help understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying a cellular event (for example, super-resolution, FCS, FLIM, TIRF, AFM etc.) or elucidate the physiology and pre-clinical relevance of a given molecular or cellular event (intravital multiphoton microscopy, fluorescence and bioluminescence tomography, SPECT/CT, PET, MRI).

Small animal molecular imaging - SPECT/CT

Helsinki Institute of Life Science - HiLIFE
Real-time imaging (RTI) / NanoSPECT/CT - Small animal molecular imaging unit


Platform Coordinator
John Eriksson / tel. +358 2 333 8036 / john.eriksson (at)
BioCity Turku, University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University
Turku Bioimaging - Turku Centre for Biotechnology

Electronic microscopy platform partners:
Eija Jokitalo (BI) (chair of the BF Electron microscopy consortium), Sarah Butcher (BI/BCH) Ilkka Miinalainen (BCO)

Light microscopy platform partners
John Eriksson (BioCity; chair of the Light microscopy consortium) Elina Ikonen (BCH), Maria Vartiainen (BI), Kirsi Rilla (BCK), Lauri Eklund (BCO), Susanna Narkilahti (BMT)

Real-time imaging (RTI) / NanoSPECT/CT platform partners
Raimo Tuominen, Anu Airaksinen (BCH/Univ.Helsinki Pharmacy)