Core Facilities

Core facilities provide expert training, scientific resources and equipment that might not otherwise be affordable or accessible. The BRI offers a range of core facilities to ensure that BRI members have access to the most advanced technologies for neuroscience research. For information on UCLA's wide variety of core facilities, click hereThe following core facilities are operated by the BRI:

Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Facility

The Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Facility, a service of the UCLA Brain Research Institute for the implementation of biological and 2-photon laser-scanning microscopy and some associated technologies, moved to the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI) in 2008 and joined with another imaging facility from the Department of Chemistry to form the CNSI Advanced Light Microscopy/Spectroscopy Facility, located in rooms B145 and 2144 of the CNSI.

The new facility has several point scanning confocal microscopies:  two Leica TCS-SP2 AOBS confocal microscopes, one with multiphoton capabilities and two Leica TCS-SP5 confocal microscopes, one with STED and multiphoton capabilities.  The latter is a Stimulated Emission Depletion laser-scanning super resolution microscope which allows fluorescence scanning below the limit of light resolution (60-90 nm as opposed to 200-300nm) in two colors.  The Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014 was awarded to Dr. Stefan Hall for the invention of this technology and the Facility was the first in the nation to acquire it.

The Facility also offers:

  • a wide field fluorescence microscope dedicated to FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) imaging;
  • a home-built system for ALEX (alternating laser excitation spectroscopy);
  • a lab that is mostly dedicated to macroscale imaging but also has one upright and one inverted microscope set up for microinjection, fluorescence wide field time lapse (inverted) and multispectral unmixing (upright);
  • a Yokogawa laser-scanning spinning disk microscope system with a Leica DMI6000 inverted microscope and an Andor EMCCD camera; 
  • two small animal imaging systems;
  • a Maestro (CRi) for multispectral fluorescence unmixing;
  • an Optix (ART) for lifetime imaging by time domain; and
  • a Leica LMD7000 laser microdissection system with a new 64 bit computer and advanced software, which is used for isolation of cells from within tissues for downstream processing and analysis.

In the future, the Facility will have a Nikon TIRF (total internal reflection) microscope.

Available technologies include fluorescence point-scanning and spinning disk laser-scanning confocal microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), alternating laser excitation spectroscopy (ALEX), microscopic multispectral fluorescence and wide field color unmixing, microinjection and most recently, laser microdissecton. 

Drs. Laurent Bentolila and Matt Schibler (originally in charge of the facility in the Gonda Center) are responsible for training, operation and upkeep of the facility. For more information, please visit the facility website at: For specific questions please contact Dr. Matt Schiber at

Microscopic Techniques Laboratory

The Microscopic Techniques Laboratory is located in Room 78-177 Semel Institute. This facility is prepared to give instructions in microscopic techniques and assist you in preparing tissue specimens for light microscopic observation. · Histological procedures available include some immunocytochemistry staining, special stains, paraffin sectioning, slide preparation for in situ hybridization, cryostat sectioning, plastic embedding and sectioning. The laboratory also provides staining setups, a cryostat, microtomes, and a Nikon photomicroscope for use by trained personnel.  

The Microscopic Techniques Laboratory Core Supervisor is Marianne Cilluffo, x59848 (310-825-9848), To use the laboratory and its facilities, you must obtain an Investigator Authorization Form from the Microscopic Techniques Laboratory. Reservations may be made here.


Electron Microscopy Core Facility 

The Electron Microscopy Core Facility, in Room 63-377 CHS, houses a JEOL 100CX transmission electron microscope. A Reichert Ultracut ultramicrotome is also available for use by trained personnel. (NOTE: The facility does not supply diamond knives; you must use your own).

Services provided are fixation and embedding of specimens, thin sectioning, and use of the electron microscopes (with or without assistance), gold labeling, negative stain, and light microscopy of plastic embedded materials.

The facility offers advice on appropriate preparatory procedures and other technical matters. Training and assistance in the use of the electron microscope is also offered.

For prices, questions, or consultation, contact the Electron Microscopy Services Center Core Supervisor, Marianne Cilluffo, 310-206-8054, Please see her regarding use authorization and billing. Reservations may be made here.