Microscopy, in its many forms, is one of the Garvan Institute’s major capabilities. The Institute has a dedicated Microscopy Facility located in a new custom built space in the basement of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and there are various microscopes throughout the Garvan and Kinghorn buildings to provide researchers and visiting scientists with easy access to a huge variety of state-of-the-art imaging techniques for single-molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, intra-vital and whole animal imaging.

The principal microscopes include:

  • Leica DM 6000 Power Mosaic: Advanced transmitted light and widefield fluorescence microscope with high speed stepping stage and focus for fast scanning and mosaic image acquisition
  • Leica DMI 6000 : Advanced widefield fluorescence microscope for live cells also with lasers for total internal reflection fluorescence imaging and autofocus
  • Leica DMI 6000 SP8 : Advanced laser scanning confocal microscope
  • Leica DMI 6000 SP8 SMD MP: Advanced confocal and multiphoton fluorescence microscope for live cells and tissues with high speed (12K) resonant- and field-of-view- scanners and equipment for fluorescence lifetime imaging

These and a number of our other instruments are capable of imaging tissue, cells or intracellular organelles and molecules using a variety of transmitted light (brightfield, phase contrast, interference contrast) and fluorescence-based techniques; such as epifluorescence, laser scanning confocal and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRF-M, ‘evanescent wave microscopy’). Two of our microscopes are permanently set up with incubation equipment to allow live cell time-lapse microscopy for short (hours) or long (days) term experiments using any of our available imaging techniques even at high speeds.

In addition, we have equipment to perform experiments using techniques such as Förster Resonant Energy Transfer (FRET), fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), colocalization analysis by either confocal, fluorescence or TIRF microscopy.

Multiphoton Microscopy

A number of these microscopes are also equipped with multi-photon lasers to enable multi-photon imaging approaches including deep tissue imaging, intra-vital imaging, second harmonic imaging (SHG), fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) and measurement of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) using time correlated single photon counting (TCSPC).

High Content Imaging

Our widefield fluorescence and confocal microscopes are capable of performing imaging for high content analysis and the Institute also houses a dedicated high content platform.  See the functional genomics page for more information.

Intravital Imaging

Garvan has two instruments for intravital imaging:

  • Zeiss 7MP two-photon microscope:  Dedicated two-photon microscope for deep tissue intravital microscopy
  • Leica DMI 6000 SP8 SMD MP OPO intravital: Advanced multiphoton microscope for deep tissue imaging capable of simultaneous excitation using two MP laser lines and fluorescence lifetime imaging


We have transmitted light and fluorescence based microscopes dedicated towards electrophysiological techniques.

Electron Microscopy

The Hearing Research laboratory has a dedicated Hitachi H-7650 electron microscope with a 2k x 2k AMT bottom mount digital camera for ultrastructural analyses of biological specimens, particularly the brain.  The funds for this microscope were donated by Christina and Trevor Kennedy.


Contact Us

For further information please contact Dr William Hughes at .