Cell & Molecular Imaging Shared Resource

high resolution image of cancer cells

The overall goal of the Cell & Molecular Imaging (CMI) Shared Resource is to provide MUSC Hollings Cancer Center members with sophisticated equipment, technologies, training, and expertise required for successful, state-of-the-art cell and tissue-based microscopic imaging and image analysis. 

CMI carries out activities under three major themes:

  • Optical Microscopy Services: CMI maintains an array of contemporary equipment and expertise to facilitate high-end imaging of tissues and cells by Hollings members.
  • Innovative Techniques: CMI develops and applies new imaging techniques and applications to meet the emerging scientific needs of Hollings members.
  • Education and Training: CMI educates, trains, and consults on sophisticated imaging technologies that enable scientific discovery, including a biennial Charleston Workshop on Light Microscopy for the Biomedical Sciences, as well as a lecture series on cell and molecular imaging, especially as it relates to tumor biology.  



Head shot of Dr. John J. Lemasters

John J. Lemasters, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and GlaxoSmithKline Distinguished Endowed Chair
Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Operations Manager

Head shot of Dr. Li Li

Li Li, Ph.D.
Drug Discovery Building 522B

Imaging Specialists

Head shot of Dr. Anna-Liisa Nieminen

Anna-Liisa Nieminen, Ph.D.
Professor, Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences
Senior Imaging Specialist

head shot of Dr. Jiangting Hu

Jiangting Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

Drug Discovery Building 522B

Head shot of Dr. Kenji Takemoto

Kenji Takemoto, M.D., Ph.D.

Drug Discovery Building 524E

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Imaging Scientist

Head shot of Dr. Monika Gooz

Monika Beck Gooz, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences


  • Access to state-of-the-art confocal and multiphoton microscopy, super-resolution microscopy, and second harmonic generation for imaging living cells in culture, live, and fixed tissues and for intravital imaging in live animals.
  • In-depth training in multiple imaging modalities including microscopic techniques, live cell imaging, multiphoton imaging, and pre-clinical intravital animal imaging.
  • Consultation and assistance concerning experimental design, sample preparation, probe selection, and data analysis for imaging applications.
  • Education in the fundamentals of imaging and image analysis technologies and their application, which are essential for appropriate utilization of these approaches.
  • Dissemination of information concerning the ongoing development of novel experimental strategies, emerging technologies, and data analysis techniques.


Fixed Cell & Tissue Imaging using chromogenic and fluorescence techniques in combination with antibody-based methods to monitor expression, distribution, and interaction of specific molecules.

Live Cell Imaging of parameter-sensitive fluorophores to monitor ions, electrical potentials, oxygen and nitrogen radical generation, NAD(P)H, mitochondrial and plasmalemmal membrane permeability, cell viability (apoptosis and necrosis), fluorescent protein biosensors, and other parameters.

Intravital Microscopy to monitor microcirculation, leukocyte margination, invadopodia, mitochondrial polarization, membrane permeability, radical generation, gene expression, detection of collagen fibers, and other factors in living animals and tissues.

Advanced Imaging Techniques: Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to characterize and quantify interactions between specific molecules and their mobility; second harmonic generation (SHG) microscope for label-free visualization of collagen; and Fast Airyscan super-resolution imaging with high quantum efficiency GaAsP photomultipliers.


The CMI Shared Resource has a full range of state-of-the-art imaging equipment, including the microscopes listed below. Check out our equipment page for full microscope descriptions and capabilities.

  • Zeiss 880 LSM NLO with Fast Airyscan Super-resolution Detector
  • Olympus FV1200 MPE
  • Zeiss LSM 510 META
  • Olympus FluoView FV10i LIV
  • BD Biosciences CARV II

Imaging Workstation

Two imaging workstations are dedicated for offline image processing and analysis. The following software packages are available for current CMI users: Metamorph, Image J FIJI, Duolink ImageTool, Adobe Photoshop, Olympus Viewer, IP Lab, Zeiss Zen software, Imaris, and Huygens deconvolution suite. Please contact Li Li, Ph.D., for more information and to request software training.

Additional Equipment for Live Cell Imaging

A tissue culture hood and two cell culture incubators (37°C) are available in Drug Discovery 521 for specimen preparation and temporary incubation of cells. One incubator is equipped for 5% CO2.

Publication Acknowledgement

Please acknowledge the Cell & Molecular Imaging Core in your publications by choosing the appropriate grant numbers: “Image facilities were supported in part by the Cell & Molecular Imaging Shared Resource, MUSC Cancer Center Support Grant (P30 CA138313), the SC COBRE in Oxidants, Redox Balance, and Stress Signaling (P20 GM103542), the SC COBRE in Digestive and Liver Diseases (P20 GM130457), the MUSC Digestive Disease Research Cores Center (P30 DK123704,) and the Shared Instrumentation Grants S10 OD018113 and S10 OD028663.”