Cellular Imaging and Cytometry Facility (CICF)

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
Area(s) of Expertise

Our facility excels in a number of complementary methodologies that enable both optical and molecular characterization of living and non-living biological samples. These include cell cycle, ploidy analysis, proliferation, apoptosis, immunophenotyping and live/dead assays as well as expression analysis. We can isolate, and collect for further analysis, individual mammalian and bacterial cells, extracellular vesicles, exosomes, and viruses from heterogeneous samples. In addition, we produce DNA aptamers with switchable binding to cells, viruses, and proteins for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. We perform aptamer-facilitated biomarker identification of individual cells and tissues. We have a unique expertise in biomarker discovery in their native states and production of affinity probes to them. We are equipped to automate these procedures on our robotic platform and to conduct a wide range of optical characterization of samples ranging from cultured cells to tissue whole mounts. We are well-equipped to handle projects using zebrafish model systems and 3D imaging projects. Multiphoton imaging, ratiometric ion imaging and spectral analysis of samples with linear signal unmixing are available in our facility.

What the facility does

Training and research support for a broad range of biomolecular research projects in the public and private sectors.

Research Services
  • Confocal, multiphoton, widefield microscopy, live cell imaging, spectral analysis and unmixing;
  • Sorting and analyzing mammalian cells, bacteria, exosomes and viruses from heterogeneous samples;
  • Training flow cytometry users to run experiments and analyse the data; 
  • Selecting aptamer to peptides, proteins, whole cells and tissues with desired affinity;
  • Aptamer-facilitated biomarker identification and discovery;
  • Robotic drug screening; 
  • Automated fluorescent colony identification and picking.
Sectors of Application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Education
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Name of equipment in use

Description of function

Nikon A1R+ Confocal Microscope

Laser scanning 1- and 2-photon imaging of living and non-living samples. 32-channel spectral detection available

Nikon Ni-U Widefield Microscope with Andor EMCCD Camera

Sensitive multi-channel imaging of living or fixed samples. Ratiometric imaging of fluorescent indicator dyes possible

Arcturus® Laser Microdissection Workstation

Microdissection of fluorescent or otherwise identified cells from fixed or living tissues for downstream molecular isolation/characterization procedures

Zeiss LSM 880 with Airyscan Detector and  Live Cell Chamber with CO2/O2 control

Enhanced resolution beam-scanning confocal with fast scanning technology and live-cell incubation chamber with [CO2]/[O2 ] control

Several widefield fluorescence microscopes with phase contrast and differential interference contrast (DIC) and digital image capture

Multichannel fluorescence imaging of fixed samples

Beckman Coulter MoFlo® Astrios™ EQ Cell Sorter

Sort targets based on their light scattering and fluorescent properties

Beckman Coulter Gallios® Flow Cytometer

Analyze targets based on their light scattering and fluorescent properties

Beckman Coulter FC500 Flow Cytometer

Analyze targets based on their light scattering and fluorescent properties

Integrated robotic platform for drug screening and selection of DNA aptamers

High throughput drug screening and selection of DNA aptamers

QPix™ 420 colony picker

Fully automated fluorescent colony identification and picking