June 4th, 2020:

OBC update and guidelines during OBC phase 2 reopening

We are excited to reopen the OBC and will do our best to keep the core a safe and productive environment for all our users. We expect there will be high demand for time on the microscopes, and will do our best to ensure everyone gets access. All reservations will be made by Adeela (adeelas@uci.edu) for the next few weeks, and we will have strict late/no-show policies in place to ensure everyone is respectful of the time they are given. The online calendar can still be used to check the availability of time slots before requesting the reservation. Reservations will be scheduled with a 15/30 minute gap to make sure there is no overlap and to allow time for at least some air exchange through the ventilation system. The OBC will be sanitized morning and evening.

  • Users who have been in risk areas or had contact with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 patients are not allowed to access the facility for 14 days.
  • Users who are SARS-Cov-2 positive or otherwise sick are not allowed to access the facility even if they appear to have only mild cold-like symptoms.
  • All users MUST wear a mask the entire time they are in the OBC
  • Users must only come in to the OBC during their reserved times.
  • Users more than 15 mins late will have their reservations cancelled
  • All no-shows will be charged $50/hr for their entire reserved time
  • All users must use hand sanitizer when entering/leaving the OBC. We have requested a station at the OBC entrance – until it is in place a hand sanitizer bottle is available in the OBC under the white board.
  • Please bring your own gloves if you wish to use them
  • We will be postponing all teaching and training while social distancing is recommended.
  • Only one user will be allowed per microscope
  • Access to the LSM700 and Z1 will ONLY be from the hallway doors using a hard key. Users will open the OBC door using their key cards and borrow the hard key hanging just to the inside right of the OBC main door, which they will then return.
  • Access to the LSM780 is only through the OBC door equipped with a key card reader.
  • All users must cover keyboards, mouse, eyepieces with plastic wrap and discard wrap when done with their session
  • All users must use disinfection on surfaces listed on sign-up sheet before/after use (spray disinfectant onto napkins, and wipe down surfaces with napkins. Do NOT spray disinfectant directly onto surfaces! )
  • Workstations will be available via TeamViewer only

Please don’t hesitate to email if you have any questions or need help or advice. We are looking forward to helping everyone get back to their science.


April 9th, 2020: OBC update during COVID-19 shutdown

Dear OBC Users,

We are doing our best to have the facility accessible for critical/essential experiments that meet the criteria as defined by the Vice-Provost (see below) **.

To continue using OBC shared equipment for your critical/essential experiments:

  1. Please forward confirmation of Dean or Dept. Chair approval for permission to carry out critical/essential experiments to Adeela and Dr. Warrior.
  2. Following this, fill in, sign and email us this Critical Expt Reservation Sheet for OBC that lists the instrument name, date, and starting/ending time that you would like for your reservation(s). You can check the OBC calendar for open slots to help in picking a time, but only Adeela will be able to reserve them.
  3. Adeela will create a reservation if you have been approved for critical /essential By doing this we can ensure that there is only one user in a designated space during a given time slot. This will allow us to prevent unauthorized (i.e., non-critical/essential) use at this time for everyone’s safety as well as reduce the possibility of legal liability for the facility and the university. Your reservation will include 15-minute windows before and after your reservation time to allow you to clean work surfaces before and after observation and to reduce the likelihood of overlapping with the next user.

We have made several changes to reduce risk for infection –

  1. Disinfectant spray bottles have been added to the shared Core rooms.

(a) For your own safety, please wipe down equipment, keyboards, mouse, etc. (anything you touch/will touch) before and after use. Do not spray directly on the equipment, instead please spray on the paper towels to wipe down, and dry.

(b) Please wash your hands before and after use, as well as after handling the disinfectant. There are two sinks in the OBC (next to the LSM 700 and next to the Leica. We have placed hand soap and paper towels at both sinks.

(c) Please wear PPE, as has always been required.

(d) Please sign off on the new checklist form (in the work station room) at the end of your session to confirm that you have followed these procedures.

  1. If you feel more comfortable doing so, we are allowing all current equipment to be used with gloves although this is not mandatory.
  2. If you wish to cancel your reservation due to illness, taking care of someone who might be ill, not feeling comfortable continuing your scheduled session, or any other reason due to COVID-19, please email and we will cancel your session at no charge.
  3. Training sessions on all equipment have been temporarily suspended
  4. Adeela will do her best to be available for advice and consultation by phone or Facetime rather than in person between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM M-F (949-285-052).

While these changes may feel onerous and frustrating, we believe that they are necessary to safeguard all users. Our guidelines are consistent with those in force at other shared use imaging facilities on the UCI campus such as the UCI IMRI and the Stem Cell Center.

As a reminder:
If you are feeling sick or think you might be coming down with something, please wait until symptoms fully subside before coming in to lab and request to cancel/reschedule your reservation. The symptoms do not have to be related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath); we want to limit any illness that might lower anyone’s immune system at this time. Since our equipment is shared by so many individuals, exposure is high.

As the COVID-19 situation will continue to change in the next several weeks, additional changes might be made. Please keep an eye out for additional notifications.

** Critical/Essential experiments are:

  • Those for which cessation would be in conflict with funding agreements (consult with personnelin SPA or Beall Applied Innovation as applicable to assist you with determining if this is the case);
  • Where the phasing down and restarting of the research would cause irreparable harm to the research project/program; or
  • Related to improving general knowledge about the SARS CoV-2 virus (which causes the COVID-19 illness), and reducing the spread of COVID-19, including the development and testing of vaccine candidates. 

To conduct critical research during EO effective period, Principal Investigators (PIs) and Lead Researchers (LRs) must obtain approval for critical/essential research from their cognizant Dean or Faculty Chair.

Stay safe – and hopefully see you in the OBC soon,

Rahul & Adeela

March 20, 2020: OBC update during COVID-19 shutdown

Dear OBC users,

I regretfully have to inform you that  we will close the OBC to all users as of 5:00 PM today through April 3 (14 days). Existing reservations will be cancelled for this period,

This suspension of services is to:

  1. ensure the health and safety of all users and their families.
  2. safeguard OBC personnel who would have to come in frequently  to avoid potential accidental damage to expensive equipment.
  3. comply with State, County and University directives (see Governor Newsome’s order below)
  4. protect the School and University from potential liability

We have cleared this decision with the Dean of BioSci, Assoc Dean for Research Brandon Gaut and Dev Cell Dept Chair Tom Schilling. We have also notified the Vice-Dean for Research, School of Medicine, Suzanne Sandmeyer. 

We will consider changes to the shut down as the situation develops, and will modify its duration depending on University, State and National policy. As always, we will try to be flexible in ensuring that everyone is safe and can get their research done. Please email Adeela and me if you have any questions or if we can help in any way.

Data for confocal users should be accessible on the server.

Light sheet data will need to be transferred manually.

With regards to data processing, both Imaris and Arivis workstations are available for use via TeamViewer only. Contact Adeela for login instructions.

Stay safe – and hopefully see you in the OBC soon,

Rahul & Adeela

The Optical Biology Center is a Shared Resource Facility to provide researchers access to resources, including state of the art instrumentation and technical support, to conduct biomedical research.

Confocals: Zeiss LSM780, LSM700, Leica Sp8

Light-sheet: Zeiss Z1 (Cover image of whole mouse brain expressing Thy1-EGFP, ChAT-tdTomato and imaged on the Z1 lightsheet, is courtesy Ricardo Azevedo, MSTP and Professor Sunil Gandhi, PhD)

Software: Imaris 3D/4D, Arivis Vision 4D, Volocity, Huygens SVI

For training contact Dr. Adeela Syed at adeelas@uci.edu


Adeela Syed PhD, OBC Manager

Hours: ~9:30am to 4:00pm and by appt.

You can contact Adeela via email (adeelas@uci.edu), or phone (949-824-3856)

Rahul Warrior PhD, OBC Director