COVID-19 Updates

Visit UC San Diego's Coronavirus portal for the latest information for the campus community.

UCSD School of Medicine Microscopy Core

 Campus Phase ORANGE

Phase Orange can be reversed by UCSD at any time

COVID-19 Testing is free for UCSD

Employees and Students.

For Scheduling Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing:

Access for only UCSD laboratories at this time

All scheduled session on our resources must provide a valid Oracle Chart String from now on. This information consists of:

Project number - Task number - Funding Source

Assisted imaging is still available to Non-UCSD laboratories

With the goal to support important research work by our users while minimizing the risk of community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the Core will implement the following rules for physical access by users:

  1. Facility will be open Monday - Friday 24 hours

  2. Access Badge is required for entrance. You may not use another person's badge to gain access. If you are scheduled for after hours use, please ensure your card is working for all access points so you do not run into problems with lack of access. For any access issues, please email 

  3. A user should not come if he/she feels sick or has symptoms of cough, etc. (Symptom check before entering)

  4. Users must wear a user-furnished mask while in the core (core will NOT provide masks for users).

  5. Users must wash hands with soap and water or use hand santizer (available at the core) before and after use of equipment.

  6. Only 1 person allowed per room at any given time.

  7. Before and after use: Spray down chair, keyboard cover, mouse and tables with ethanol and wipe dry

  8. Before and after use: Spray ethanol onto Kim Wipe to wipe down focus knobs, touch screens etc. before and after use – DO NOT SPRAY ETHANOL DIRECTLY ONTO MICROSCOPE COMPONENTS

  9. A user may only enter the core when it is near or at the start time of his/her pre-scheduled session.

  10. Users must alert staff upon completing work so the area can be thoroughly disinfected by the staff during business hours. If after hours, you are responsible for cleaning the area yourself.

  11. Regarding gloves: Users are allowed to use their own clean gloves when handling microscope. Please note that under normal circumstance, gloves are not recommended for microscopy because they make it harder to detect – thus contribute to the spreading of - oil, mountain media etc. But we understand if some users may feel more comfortable wearing gloves. Just exercise caution on oil/media spreading. Washing hands is best.

  12. Scope availability: Each scope is available only on specific days of the week to limit the total number of users in the core at any given time (see schedule below).

  13. For overnight runs, contact staff for assistance with drop-off (including sample loading) or pick-up.

  14. COVID-19 researchers may email staff for priority sign up past the 1-week sign up period.

  15. These rules will continue to evolve to reflect actual user traffic and campus COVID-19 status and guidelines (e.g. infection levels, testing). For more information on campus COVID-19 procedures, visit UCSD Research Ramp Up Guidance

Booking of Microscopes:

You may book only 7 days in advance. If you are doing COVID-19 research, you may request to book further out than 7 days by emailing Jennifer Santini. 

Since we are running on a limited schedule during the ORANGE Phase of opening, we request that you follow rules for booking so we can maximize productivity.

1. Time slots will be available for 2 hour intervals only. 

2. You may book up to 2 time slots per day (4 hours total per day)

3. You may not book more than four 2 hour time slots per week

4. If an instrument has available time slots day of, you may exceed the 4 session booking rule by booking on that day

If you see that your time slot was moved or changed by staff, this is to ensure proper booking and productivity and you are to abide by the time on the schedule. Please double check your booking before you attend. Security badge access is required for entrance into the core and the building. 

Alternating Days for Scope availability (will be reflected on iLab online scheduler):

Instrument availability may be fluid. If one instrument is not being utilized enough we will open up booking time on instruments in higher demand. Please see the scheduling calendar notes for any information pertaining to booking that resource.

If you need access to any of these systems, please email Jennifer and we will find a day and time to schedule for you.

In person training sessions will not be provided during PHASE ORANGE, as a 6 foot distance cannot be maintained. Remote training and Assisted sessions may be scheduled with staff if you have not been authorized to use an instrument independently.

Contact: Jennifer Santini (

The Core serves the needs of laboratories across the campus and the local research community. Our cutting-edge instruments push the limits of resolution, speed and sensitivity. We offer resources that range from electron microscopy ultrastructure resolution to whole organism / live animal imaging. The Core strives to promote interdisciplinary, collaborative research among local researchers. Experienced staff are available to assist with everything from sample preparation to imaging and analysis. All instruments are wholly owned by the Core, providing stable resources to support long-term research efforts.

  • Serving the UCSD research community since 2003
  • Open to all UCSD labs and surrounding institutions
  • Designated a Leica Center of Excellence in 2019
  • State-of-the-art instruments owned by the Core
  • 15 light microscopes and 1 electron microscope
  • Software for 3D and 4D analysis
  • Multiple microscope brands represented for best solutions
  • Supported by highly experienced staff
  • No. 1 NINDS P30 center in # of publications supported 

Follow us on Twitter!


From UCSD and the Core:

Scientists Are Just Beginning to Understand Mysterious DNA Circles Common in Cancer Cells

Interested in our Microscopy Seminar Series?