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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.  Additional information below describes student opportunities for hands-on microscopy courses, the Graduate Certificate in Microscopic Imaging & Technology, and opportunities for tours. We are happy to give lectures and demonstrations for classes, and welcome visitors to explore lab facilities.

photo by Travis Caperton

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.

Steps for getting started

Consultation. Make an appointment to discuss your experimental plan and match with core facility capabilities. 

  • For general inquiries, if you're not sure how the lab might help, or want to learn more about what is available and how we can help, email Andy at or
  • For confocal/ light microscopy: Email Dr. Tingting Gu at
  • For scanning electron microscopy email Dr. Preston Larson at
  • For transmission electron microscopy, email Dr. Julian Sabisch at

Starting July 1st, 2022 - transition to iLab

Request services through iLab

Starting July 1st, 2022, all researchers internal and external to OU must register and access lab resources through our new iLab portal.

Researchers with existing iLab accounts through other facilities should be able to login to our core facility's iLab page with your current account.

Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5
Create an iLab Account (select 'Register') from the SRNML core iLab pageLog into the SRNML iLab site with your iLab credentialsSubmit a consultation request for service to initiate a project

(Request Services tab -> 'initial request' box on the right-hand side)

The project PI must also create an iLab account and approve the project before reservations can be made

(request status will be 'waiting for financial approval')

Once approved by the project PI, reserve time on equipment for training, assisted use, or self-use on the 'Schedule Equipement' tab

This guide will help lead you through the process step-by-step.

The iLab help website is a great resource that includes a 'Getting started with iLab' guide.

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. BIOL/MBIO/PBIO 5364 (Fall)  An in-depth, laboratory-oriented course in the operation of the TEM. 3 hr lect, 10 hr lab/week. Instructors:  Dr. Larson. 
  • Scanning electron microscopy. BIOL/MBIO/PBIO 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.

The Certificate Program in Microscopic Imaging and Technology is designed for graduate students with a strong interest in the investigation of using advanced imaging technology to characterize biological, materials and physical science specimens at a range of resolutions that can reach to a near atomic level. Students who may be interested with this certificate come from a wide range of interests (e.g., Biology, Microbiology, Plant Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Materials Sciences, Nanotechnology, Physics).

Complete twelve hours of core microscopy courses:

BIOL/MBIO/PBIO 5364 Transmission Electron Microscopy (4 credits)
BIOL/MBIO/PBIO 5374 Scanning Electron Microscopy (4 credits)
BIOL/MBIO/PBIO 5394 Advanced Light Microscopy (4 credits)

Complete three hours of independent research in which student demonstrates research skills in microscopy as part of their graduate research:  To fulfill this requirement, students will enroll in three hours of graduate research courses that utilize microscopy imaging and technology.

Click here to see the Program requirements on the Graduate College website. We are happy to answer questions.  For questions on Microscopy coursework contact  For administrative information contact MPBio Graduate Program Administrator, Mr. Joseph Kirt, 325-4322. 

Steps for enrolling in graduate certificate program

Students must submit a separate application to the certificate program on the Graduate College Website. Once admitted students will submit the Graduate Program Certificate Report with the signature of the signature of the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology Graduate Liaison regardless of their home degree program.

  1. Go to
  2. Scroll to the bottom and, if you do not have an account, create an account (If you already have an account, skip to step 8)
  3. Enter an email address, your first name, your last name, and your birthdate
  4. Click Continue
  5. In a new tab, go to your entered email and find your temporary pin
  6. Enter your pin and your birthday on the gograd site and click login
  7. Create a new password
  8. Scroll to the bottom and select start new application
  9. Select Add or Change Program and click Create Application
  10. Click Open Application
  11. Click Continue
  12. Fill out all of the information in each tab (On the Add or Change Program tab, select 3. I intend to pursue an additional graduate degree or certificate. If approved, you will be active in both programs. Examples: master while enrolled in a doctoral program or graduate certificate while enrolled in a graduate degree program.)


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.