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Using the Samuel Roberts Noble Microscopy Laboratory

Use of the facility is primarily for university instruction and research at all levels of sophistication, but clients from other universities, foundations and industry are welcome to use this equipment, as well, and such work may be done on an invoice or contract basis. The facility is run as a principally a user facility, encouraging clients to participate in preparing and observing their materials. Use of the major instruments requires monetary recharge that partially reimburses our maintenance and operations costs. Usage may be arranged with the SRNML personnel

We would be interested and excited to have a consultation with you to discuss how we might be able to solve your current and future research challenges. Please see below for more information about different ways in which you might use our lab. 

Researcher access

Any faculty member, student, post-doctorate, visiting scientist or research staff at the University of Oklahoma may be a user of the SRNML. Users of all forms should be aware of our policies. Users fall into two categories.

  1. Qualified instrument operators. Researchers whose work requires the use of one or more of the microscopes and the support equipment are encouraged to become qualified operators of the instruments and to do their own work. To become a qualified operator, a researcher must be certified by SRNML personnel that he/she is qualified to operate a particular instrument. Certification must be obtained for each instrument separately.
  2. Occasional users. Researchers who have only a limited need for the facilities of the SRNML may arrange for all or portions of the work to be performed by SRNML personnel, on a time available basis.
  1. Consultation. Make an appointment to discuss your experimental plan and match with core facility capabilities. For light microscopy: Email Dr. Gu at; for electron microscopy email Dr. Larson at For general inquiries email Dr. Elwood Madden at

  2. Download, carefully read, and submit a signed copy of the
    Memo of Understanding for SRNML users.

    The form must be signed by the project PI, and can be submitted electronically, campus mail, or in-person. NOTE: Particularly during COVID-19 extra cautionary procedures, a simple email of acknowldgement from the PI to or is sufficient rather than submitting the form.

  3. Register as a user with the
    new user form

    Basic information including your OUID and contact info, PI’s name, Department will be needed.  

  4. Create a project with the project form. Please set up a project with the information of the account to be charged for the imaging and request for training. Choose the
    Advanced light microscopy project form or the
    Electron microscopy project form as appropriate. 

  5. Consultation. You will be contacted to discuss your experiment and confirm which microscope you will be trained/work on.

Additional steps for advanced light microscopy:

  1. Laser safety training . Dr. Gu will email a link to the online Laser Safety Training materials and quiz. 
  2. Training Schedule. You will be informed about the training schedule.
  3. Training. Meet Advanced Light Microscopy Core Facility staff member at designated time and location for training session. Depending on the instruments and users’ experience, the training time is between 6 to 9 hrs and is divided by 2 to 3 sections. 
  4. Independent use. After you have demonstrated competence and been certified the equipment, you will be granted the right to book the system for independent use via our online calendar. Booking policies vary per instrument.
  5. Assisted use. If the new imaging project or more advance feature not covered in training, assisted microscopy section can be offered. Please contact Dr. Gu for arrangements..

Formal training through coursework

Three formal courses are available for hands-on and theoretical training.
  • Advanced Light Microscopy.  BIOL/ MBIO/ PBIO 5394. Prerequisite: permission of instructor and graduate standing. Corequisite: Lab section. Focuses on theory and techniques in light microscopy covering principles including confocal laser scanning microscopy, multiple photon imaging, FLIM/FCS, FRET, fluorescence microscopy, phase contrast, DIC, 3D rendering, and other advanced optical technologies. Also includes a lab section where students will learn to use advanced epifluorescence and confocal microscopes. Instructor: Dr. Gu.
  • Principles and techniques of transmission electron microscopy. BOT/ MICRO/ ZOOL 5364 (Fall)  An in-depth, laboratory-oriented course in the operation of the TEM. 3 hr lect, 10 hr lab/week. Instructors:  Dr. Larson. postponed fall 2020
  • Scanning electron microscopy. BOT/MICRO/ZOOL 5374 (Spring) An in-depth, laboratory-oriented course in specimen preparation and operation of the SEM. 2 hr lect, 8 hr lab/week. Instructor: Dr. Larson.

Each course is available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Students in the in-depth training courses need to obtain a research sponsor. Contact instructor for additional information.


We offer customized tours to meet the needs of a wide variety of visitors from on and off campus. We routinely conduct tours for courses on campus, job candidates, prospective researchers and workshops. We have also conducted field-trip tours from schools around the state at every level from first grade through high school AP biology, as well as from other institutions of higher learning in Oklahoma.

Detailed information can be found on our visit us page.