Quantitative Imaging: From Cells to Molecules
April 5 - 18, 2016
Application Deadline: January 15, 2016


Jennifer Waters, Harvard Medical School
Hunter Elliott,
Harvard Medical School
Torsten Wittmann, University of California San Francisco


Talley Lambert, Harvard Medical School

See the roll of honor - who's taken the course in the past

Combining careful image acquisition with computational analysis allows us to extract quantitative data from light microscopy images that is far more informative and reliable than what can be seen by eye.  This course will focus on advanced quantitative fluorescence microscopy techniques used for imaging a range of biological specimens, from cells to single molecules. The course is designed for cell and molecular biologists with little or no microscopy experience who wish to begin utilizing microscopy in their own research. Students will gain a theoretical understanding of, and hands-on experience with, state-of-the-art equipment used in quantitative fluorescence microscopy, including: wide-field fluorescence microscopy, laser scanning and spinning disk confocal microscopy, total internal fluorescence microscopy (TIRF), super-resolution methods (structured illumination, STED, STORM and PALM) and digital image processing and analysis. Students will learn how to design and implement a wide range of imaging experiments using these techniques. Students will also learn fundamental image processing, segmentation and analysis techniques using a variety of commercial and open source software packages. Students will use these image acquisition and analysis techniques to address specific quantitative questions and then discuss the results as a group, learning to troubleshoot the common problems that occur in the course of a quantitative imaging experiment. Among the lectures presented are: quantitative microscopy basics, transmitted light microscopy, image segmentation, image analysis, CCD & sCMOS cameras, confocal microscopy, multi-photon microscopy, deconvolution, TIRF, imaging ratio-metric “biosensors” (including FRET), light sheet microscopy and super-resolution techniques. Students will also learn guidelines for choosing fluorescent proteins, and work with live samples requiring environmental control.

2016 Lecturers:

Julie Canman, Columbia University
Elizabeth M.C. Hillman, Columbia University
Bo Huang, University of California, San Francisco
Nathan Shaner, The Scintillon Institute
Clare Waterman, National Institutes of Health

Support & Stipends

Major support provided by the National Cancer Institute

Stipends are available to offset tuition costs as follows:


US applicants (National Cancer Institute)
Interdisciplinary Fellowships (transitioning from outside biology)  & Scholarships (transitioning from other biological disciplines) (Helmsley Charitable Trust)
International applicants (Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

Please indicate your eligibility for funding in your stipend request submitted when you apply to the course. Stipend requests do not affect selection decisions made by the instructors. 

Cost (including board and lodging): $3,735

This button links to a short form which confirms your interest in the course. No fees are due until you have completed the full application process and are accepted into the course.

Students accepted into the course should plan to arrive by early evening on April 4 and plan to depart after lunch on April 18.