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Live Cell Imaging Facility

The vision of the Live Cell Imaging Facility (LCI) is to drive innovative research using cutting edge optical imaging technology. We provide intensive training and education, advice and intellectual input for research relying on optical imaging and image analysis. We also develop new applications and test new technologies for the benefit of our research community. The level of support is tailored to the individual researcher and can range from access to microscopes to full research collaborations.

The Live Cell Imaging facility was recently renovated thanks to a generous donation from Matt and Tara Brister. We thank them both for their continuous support of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases


Service Activities and Training

  • Access to optical imaging equipment
  • Basic to advanced microscopy training
  • Basic to advanced image analysis training
  • Surgery training

Research Activities

  • Feasibility studies
  • Pilot experiments
  • Novel application development
  • Long-term project support
  • Equipment, protocol design or modification
  • Software modification or design for image analysis or acquisition.


Pina Colarusso, PhD
Scientific Director
HS-2822A: 220-6111

Rima-Marie Wazen, PhD
In Vitro Imaging Specialist
HS-2827: 210-3891

Katarzyna Wojcik, PhD, PMP
In Vivo Imaging Specialist
HS-2827: 210-6052

Key Areas of Research

Optical imaging applications for:

  • Live cells
  • Tissue and live mice in areas of immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Cell biology
  • Cancer
  • Infectious diseases
  • Chronic diseases.

Select Publications

  • Sharma R et al.FRNK negatively regulates IL?4?mediated inflammation. J Cell Sci. 2015;128(4):695-705.
  • Jonkman JE et al. An introduction to the wound healing assay using live-cell microscopy. Cell Adh Migr. 2014;8(5):440-451.
  • D'Mello C et al. P-selectin-mediated monocyte-cerebral endothelium adhesive interactions link peripheral organ inflammation to sickness behaviors. J Neurosci. 2013; 33(37):14878?88.
  • Shi M et al. Real?time in vivo imaging of fungal migration to the central nervous system. Cell Microbiol. 2012 14(12):1819-1827.

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Core Personnel

Pina Colarusso, PhD
Director operations of the LCI

She advises and collaborates with research groups who use optical microscopy to investigate and visualize disease processes in infection and immunity. Dr. Colarusso has experience in spinning disk and laser scanning confocal microscopy, multiphoton microscopy, and deconvolution. She also has a background in image analysis and has been collaborating with clinician scientists in analyzing confocal endoscopy images of gut inflammation. Dr. Colarusso also has a keen interest in microscopy education. She has developed experiential microscopy course modules with colleagues at the U of Calgary and is a co-founder of the Canadian Light Microscopy Course.

Katarzyna Wojcik, PhD, PMP
Senior Optical Imaging Specialist and has been with the LCI team since 2011.

Katarzyna (Kasia) Wojcik PhD, PMP, is a Senior Optical Imaging Specialist. Dr. Wojcik has a BSc in Molecular Microbial Biology, PhD in Microbiology (U of Calgary) and is certified as a Project Management Professional since 2014. Her niche is in collaborative research, including feasibility studies, experimental design and methods development. In her time at the LCI she has established and developed approaches for imaging the gut, bone and other preparations. Dr. Wojcik has distinguished herself in the development of an extensive training program for intravital imaging using optical microscopy. As a resource scientist, Dr. Wojcik also focuses on core facility and project management. Her experience and insight has helped to shape the operations and strategic plan of the LCI.

Rima Wazen, PhD
Optical imaging specialist who joined the LCI team in May 2015

Dr. Wazen has a BSc in Biochemistry and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (U de Montréal). She also has extensive experience in scanning and transmission electron microscopy and focused her research on understanding normal and pathological calcified tissues as well as integration of biomaterials. At the LCI, she is responsible for training and supporting users to carry out in vitro optical imaging of fixed and live cells (wide-field, confocal, laser scanning confocal). She also collaborates on research projects by conducting pilot and feasibility experiments.

Specialization / Applications

  • Microscopy: brightfield + contrast techniques (phase, DIC), fluorescence (wide-field, confocal, spinning disk confocal, two-photon), super resolution (point localization), TIRF, second harmonic generation.
  • Standard protocols for: time-lapse, 3D, 4D acquisition, point visiting, stitching, spectral scans.
  • Applications: wound healing, flow assays, photoactivation, intravital imaging for short-term endpoint experiments and long-term recovery experiments.
  • Intravital imaging training for several organ systems: skeletal muscle, knee joint, femoral groove, bone (tibia and skull), skin, gut (colon, cecum, mesentery, small intestines), liver, spleen, kidney, brain.

The Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases was named in 2008 in honour of Joan Snyder and her parents, who she credits for teaching her the value of philanthropy. It is a group of more than 104 clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists who are impacting and changing the lives of people suffering from chronic diseases, including sepsis, MRSA, cystic fibrosis, type-1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For more information on the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, please visit us at or follow us on Twitter @SnyderInstitute.