University of Minnesota
University Imaging Center
University Imaging Centers - Where the University sees the future


Scientific American: Superslow Brain Waves May Play a Critical Role in Consciousness

Credit: Getty Images

Every few seconds a wave of electrical activity travels through the brain, like a large swell moving through the ocean. Scientists first detected these ultraslow undulations decades ago in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanes of people and other animals at rest–but the phenomenon was thought to be either electrical "noise" or the sum of much faster brain signals and was largely ignored.

Now a study that measured these "infraslow" (less than 0.1 hertz) brain waves in mice suggests they are a distinct type of brain activity that depends on an animal's concious state. But big questions remain about these waves' origin and function.

Continue reading at Scientific American.

The University Imaging Centers are Hiring

We are seeking a candidate who is a service-oriented team player with excellent interpersonal, organizational and communication skills who enjoys helping people. They should have a B.S degree (Graduate degree a plus) in biology, chemistry or biomedical imaging, be ready to help researchers with both trivial and advanced aspects of biological tissue/organ sample preparation and imaging projects. Experience in sample preparation (fixation, staining,antibody labeling), and advanced light microscopy is required and some experience with image analysis would be a strong plus. Experience with tissue clearing and/or labeling in conjunction with confocal and/or light sheet imaging would also be viewed favorably.

The successful candidate should be prepared to be in a dynamic multi-user environment whereby four basic areas of service must be covered: a) maximize the availability of advanced imaging technologies and methodologies to faculty, staff, students and external users, b) bring expertise in new imaging technologies to users, c) educate the University community about new imaging technologies, d) promote interaction between developers of new imaging technology and potential users.

For more information about the position please visit the UMN Job Posting.

UIC Update: I Can See Clearly Now...

The University Imaging Centers (UIC) is excited to announce new capabilities to our sample preparation services to include whole tissue clearing and labeling. Biological specimens are intrinsically three-dimensional; however light scattering while imaging deeply into a tissue volume is problematic. Efforts to eliminate the scatter by “clearing” the tissue have been ongoing for well over a century, with a large number of recent innovations, under names such as CLARITY, PACT/PARS, iDISCO, SeeDB, CUBIC, Scale and a host of others.

The subsequent imaging of this cleared tissue is the next challenge and single and multi-photon confocal microscopes and light-sheet instruments are leading the way in resolution and speed of acquisition.

A third challenge is the data. With dataset in the 10s to 1000s of GBs per image the data’s shear volume is a significant challenge.

The UIC is expanding its service offering in all three areas.  1) we will be hiring a full-time staff member to identify the best clearing methodology. We have also optimized clearing methods using microwave-assisted methods developed in the UIC as well as commercial clearing systems (XClarity).  We have posted a position (UIC Clearing Job) to validate and optimize the appropriate clearing methodology for our expansive user base.  2) We have macro and micro-scale objectives specially designed for cleared tissue for our confocal and diSPIM light sheet systems. We are further evaluating additional imaging tools to add to our imaging resources.  3) We have added to our computational hardware and software (OpenSPIM, AMIRA, Imaris and Nikon Elements) These efforts are possible thanks to the joint support of ITN, the MDT addiction team, Department of Neuroscience, the AHC/Medical School, the OVPR’s office and the UIC.

3D Printing: Introducing Onyx

The University Imaging Centers has installed a MarkForge Onyx One 3D Printer. The Onyx One prints using 'Onyx' a composite material that utilziies Nylon and chopped Carbon Fiber to print strong black parts with a high quality surface finish.

To learn more visit our 3D printing page, or email Alex Cramer (

New Microscope Gives Edge to Biomedical Researchers


Before scientists can make breakthroughs in biomedical research, they must understand what’s going on in the body, often at a microscopic level.

But despite the range of sophisticated lab equipment often at scientists’ disposal, it can still be difficult to view some of our bodies’ tiniest structures at the right level of detail to see how their behaviors affect the body as a whole. The right level of microscopic imaging for observing how tissues, connections in the nervous system, cells, and cell parts all interact lands in a gap between what common lab microscopes can reach. Traditional optical microscopes can’t zoom in far enough, while more advanced electron microscopes see things at too tiny a level.  

Recently, the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic teamed up to acquire an instrument that could bridge this divide and bring biomedical researchers at both institutions much-needed imaging capabilities. Through a collaboration between Mayo’s Microscopy and Cell Analysis Core and the U’s University Imaging Centers (UIC) and Research Computing, researchers will soon have access to a serial block face scanning electron microscope—a technology that can image the large, 3D data sets on cells and tissues that were, until now, unobtainable.

The new microscope is undergoing final installation and testing this week at its home on Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. Once installed it will drive forward biomedical research into a wide range of health problems, including neurodegenerative disease, cancer, diabetes, and developmental disorders.

Click here to continue to the full article.