Core Facilities & ServicesAdvanced Digital Microscopy (ADM)

Advanced Digital Microscopy (ADM)
Core Facility Manager
+34 93 40 20451

The Advanced Digital Microscopy (ADM) Core Facility was inaugurated in January 2009. The facility is committed to providing a complete range of light microscopy imaging systems and techniques to researchers at IRB Barcelona and other institutions at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), and visiting scientists. The facility provides full-time access to state-of-the-art conventional and laser-based microscopes, as well as assistance in advanced imaging techniques for image processing, and data interpretation and presentation.

In partnership with the PCB, the facility provides full-time access to:

  • Conventional transmission and epifluorescence microscopy and motorised fluorescence macroscopy
  • Spectral confocal microscopy, including FRAP, FRET, photoactivation and multiphoton microscopy
  • Spinning disk confocal microscopy
  • 'High Content Screening' automated microscopy equipped with TIRF microscopy
  • Laser nanosurgery of living cells and organisms combined with FRAP
  • Image processing workstations

The ADM is also involved in developing research instrumentation and implements light-sheet-based fluorescence microscopy.

For further information, contact the ADM manager at or

Services for IRB Barcelona and PCB researchers

  • Conventional transmission and fluorescence microscopy. Bright field, phase contrast, differential interference contrast (DIC), dark field and multiple colour fluorescence imaging of fixed samples. Fluorescence stereoscopy for sample manipulation and select on, extended focus imaging.

    The facility has six units: Inverted epifluorescence (Nikon TE200), upright epifluorescence (Nikon E600, E800, E1000) and fluorescence stereoscopy (Leica), fluorescence Macroscopy (Olympus MVX10).

  • Spectral confocal microscopy. 3D, 4D and 5D imaging with optical sectioning, custom spectral detection and resolution, multiple position and incubated environment control for living cells.

    The facility has three units: Inverted confocal (Leica SP5, Leica SP2) and upright confocal (SPE).

  • Multiphoton microscopy. Deep fluorescence imaging and multiphoton applications. Tailored on the SP5 with an ultrashort pulsed IR laser.
  • Spinning disk confocal microscopy. Fast 5D imaging with the Andor Revolution system, equipped with EMCCD camera technology.
  • Automated fluorescence Widefield Microscopy with High Content Screening and TIRF.

    The facility has one unit: Olympus CellR/ScanR. Fully automated inverted microscope for imaging wide areas, multiwell plates and multipositions. Automated live imaging with temperature incubation and CO2 control. Superstable fluorescence illumination for reproducible and high content image analysis.
    Total internal reflection microscopy: High contrast imaging at surfaces.

  • Laser manipulation of living cells and organisms. FRAP and laser nanosurgery combined on a wide field fluorescence microscope to perform FRAP and fluorescence patterning, cell ablation, subcellular ablation and correlative microscopy. Laser extraction of prepared tissue sections, single cell or tissue area.

    The facility has two units: Zeiss Axiovert 200M, a custom platform developed in collaboration with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and an Olympus MMI Microdissector.

  • Imaging workstations: Image processing and analysis on 32- and 64-bit workstations equipped with Imaris (Bitplane), Leica LAS AF, Igor Pro, and custom ImageJ tailored solutions.
  • Demo System. The A1R spectral confocal microscope is installed in our laboratory, in collaboration with Izasa S.A. Please contact us if you are interested in finding out more and in testing the system.

Upcoming applications in 2010:
Microinjection, Lightsheet Microscopy (SPIM)

Map Legend: 1: SP5 confocal + multiphoton, 2: SP2 confocal, 3: SPE confocal, 4: Epifluorescence microscopes, 5: Fluorescent stereoscope, 6: fluorescence Macroscope, 7: Confocal spinning disk, 8: Microdissector, 9: Laser Nanosurgery + FRAP, 10: Automated widefield for Screening + TIRF, 11: Image Processing workstations.


Located in Room PBC12, our microscopy systems are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to all scientists working in the Barcelona Science Park.

External scientists and companies can also access our facilities. Please send an official request to, describing the goal and principles of the experiments.

Billing policies

We apply a 30% discount out of office hours (8am to 9am, 6pm to 10pm) and 50% discount for overnight imaging (from 10pm to 8am on confocal systems).


2010 Rates (PDF)

During office hours (9am-6pm), access to systems is restricted to a maximum of 4 hours per user. This restriction is released if booking is made less than 48h before the experiment. The High Content automated microscopy and Long-term Live imaging system (ScanR/CellR) has no time booking restrictions.

Access to our booking application must be granted by the ADM staff for each new user and for each system, with the exception of fluorescence stereoscopy (Lupa), which is accessible to all. Booking is possible up to 14 days in advance.

Late cancellation (< 24h in advance) will result in billing if the time slot is not reserved by another user.

Some systems might have further booking restrictions (example: number of hours available per group per week). If you experience any problems or need special booking conditions for a specific experiment, please contact us.

To access the instrument booking application form, please click here.

Please note that you will need to accept an SSL certificate when accessing the booking application.

Huang Y, Skwarek-Maruszewska A, Horré K, Vandewyer E, Wolfs L, Snellinx A, Saito T, Radaelli E, Corthout N, Colombelli J, Lo AC, Van Aerschot L, Callaerts-Vegh Z, Trabzuni D, Bossers K, Verhaagen J, Ryten M, Munck S, D'Hooge R, Swaab DF, Hardy J, Saido TC, De Strooper B and Thathiah A.
Sci Transl Med, 7 (309), 309ra164 (2015)
Hoijman E, Rubbini D, Colombelli J and Alsina B.
Nat Commun, 6 7355 (2015)
Saias L, Swoger J, D'Angelo A, Hayes P, Colombelli J, Sharpe J, Salbreux G and Solon J.
Dev Cell, 33 (5), 611-21 (2015)
Calon A, Lonardo E, Berenguer-Llergo A, Espinet E, Hernando-Momblona X, Iglesias M, Sevillano M, Palomo-Ponce S, Tauriello DV, Byrom D, Cortina C, Morral C, Barceló C, Tosi S, Riera A, Attolini CS, Rossell D, Sancho E and Batlle E.
Nat Genet, 47 (4), 320-329 (2015)
Pujol-Martí J, Faucherre A, Aziz-Bose R, Asgharsharghi A, Colombelli J, Trapani JG and López-Schier H.
Curr Biol, 24 (24), 2968-74 (2014)
Brugues A, Anon E, Conte V, Veldhuis JH, Gupta M, Colombelli J, Munoz JJ, Brodland GW, Ladoux, B, and Trepat X
Nat Phys, 10 (9), 683–690 (2014)
Nevola L, Martín-Quirós A, Eckelt K, Camarero N, Tosi S, Llobet A, Giralt E and Gorostiza P.
Angew Chem Int Edit, 52 (30), 7704-8 (2013)
López-Bosque MJ, Tejeda-Montes E, Cazorla M, Linacero J, Atienza Y, Smith KH, Lladó A, Colombelli J, Engel E and Mata A.
Nanotechnology, 24 (25), 255305 (2013)
Colombelli J and Solon J.
Cell Tissue Res, 352 (1), 133-47 (2013)
Vignaud T, Galland R, Tseng Q, Blanchoin L, Colombelli J and Théry M.
J Cell Sci, 125 (Pt 9), 2134-40 (2012)
Besser A, Colombelli J, Stelzer EH and Schwarz US.
Phys Rev E, 83 (5 Pt 1), 051902 (2011)
Solon J, Kaya-Copur A, Colombelli J and Brunner D.
Cell, 137 (7), 1331-42 (2009)

Group news & mentions

22 May 2015

Various media, including El Mundo, have echoed the European Light Microscopy Initiative (ELMI) international congress, which has gathered leading experts in microscopy this week in Sitges.

<p>(from right to left): Julien Colombelli (IRB Barcelona), Rafael Yuste (Columbia University) and Timo Zimmermann (CRG) during the press conference at ELMI</p>
21 May 2015

Observing the movement of cells inside an organism, following the development of an embryo in vivo over two days, or seeing how synapses form between neurons are the challenges faced by  m

<p>Jens Lüders leads the Microtubule Organization laboratory (Photo: Battista/Minocri, IRB Barcelona)</p>
30 Jun 2014

The division of a cell in two requires the assembly of the mitotic spindle, an extremely complex structure, which is the result of the coordinated action of a multitude of proteins and a finely tun