Edinburgh Imaging

Light Microscopy

Online, distance education, teaching basics plus some advanced techniques of optics, light & fluoresence microscopy, confocal microscopy, CCD camera technology, sample optimization & handling, image formation & data handling. We re-enforce taught materials with practical activities.

Explore our syllabus:


Also see below for Dr Rolly Wiegand's discussion of the course relevance & goals.


  • Online, distance learning only
Number of credits:
  • 10
Teaching starts:
  • Sep / Autumn / Semester 1

Elective course for:

  • Please note that elective courses will not run if the cohort is too small

Study this course AND gain University credit:

Study this course WITHOUT gaining University credit:



Dr Rolly Wiegand discusses the microscopy course

Imaging technologies provide a rapidly developing, large range of research tools for biomedical sciences. They are unique, as they are the only analytical techniques, which generate data with high spatial and temporal resolution & in part functional read-out. Only this capacity allows to study where and when biological events happen in cells, tissues & whole organisms.

Within the large range of imaging technologies, methods based on light microscopy are the most widely used imaging modalities in biomedical sciences. Light microscopy delivers high-content images with a spatial resolution of several millimetres down to tens of nanometers. The temporal resolution of live specimen microscopy reaches from milliseconds up to days in the case of longitudinal experiments up to weeks or even months.

A wide range of different experimental configurations allow to measure many different physiological parameters such a pH, redox potential, ion concentrations, ligand binding & many others more. Thus, light microscopes provides a comprehensive & versatile ‘tool kit’ that is essential to almost all research areas in biomedical sciences.

Hardly any scientific publication with a high impact in the central biomedical research fields, is not at least in part based on results generated by the use of light microscopy. This includes basic conventional approaches such as histology imaging & immunofluorescence-based light microscopy, but also very advanced methods such as intravital imaging, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy & high-content screening. Furthermore, fast technical developments in light microscopy technologies generate new imaging tools on an annual basis, which allow to address more & more complex research questions.

This course aims at teaching the basics of light microscopy & the theoretical skills essential for the application of light microscopy technologies. The course is divided into several modules that cover the essential topics of basic & some advanced light microscopy. The main modules of the course explain the nature of light, basics of light microscopy, confocal microscopy, sample preparation, image formation & restoration, digital camera technology, image analysis & advanced light microscopy technologies.

After having completed the course, you should have a thorough understanding of the essential theory & practical applications of light microscopy, which should provide you with very competitive research skills.


Relevant links