All Nikon Imaging Center Center equipment is available for use to academic and corporate researchers after a formal training session. Typically, we train you to operate our microscopes, after which you can reserve time and acquire data yourself. However, we can also operate the microscopes and acquire data for you. To cover our operating costs, we charge for usage of the microscopes as outlined below.

Recharge Rates

InstrumentUC AcademicExternal AcademicCorporate
6D / High Throughput$24.00$31.00$61.00
Time Lapse$30.00$38.00$76.00
Time Lapse (unattended)$10.00$13.00$26.00
TIRF / N-STORM$33.00$42.00$84.00
Light Sheet$32.00$41.00$81.00
Spinning Disk Confocal$36.00$46.00$92.00
High Speed Widefield / CSU-W1$38.00$48.00$96.00
Training / Consulting (in addition to usage fee)N/A$146.00$197.00

Reservations cancelled with less than 48 hours notice are subject to a cancellation fee of 50% of the cost of the reservation.

External Users

All users from UCSF, UCSF affiliates, and other University of California campuses can use the NIC at the UC Academic rate listed above. Users from other academic institutions are charged the External Academic rate. Users from for-profit companies are charged the Corporate rate listed above. Both external academic and corporate users will need to execute an agreement with UCSF prior to using the imaging center. This typically takes 2-3 weeks and is relatively straightforward. We welcome external users and have helped dozens of companies acquire microscopy data. To request access for your company, please contact the core directly. You can see the standard contract on the RRP web site.


If you would like to use the equipment at the NIC, please fill out the training request form. The NIC staff will contact you via e-mail to consult about your imaging needs and schedule a 1-2 hour training session for the microscope best suited for your project. Further training on other microscopes is always available. After the training session we will give you access to the NIC calendar on MyCores and you can reserve time on the microscopes on which you have been trained.


Time on all microscopes must be reserved through the MyCores calendar. During training, we will create an account for you on MyCores, after which you will be able to access MyCores through MyAccess.

To help ensure availability of the microscopes for all users:

  • Microscope time may be reserved no more than 14 days in advance.
  • Users may reserve a maximum of:
    • 12 hours per week between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday
    • An additional 12 hours a week between 8pm and 8 am or on weekends
  • On the time lapse microscope, users may reserve up to 48 hours per week.
  • Users may always book time in the next 24 hours without this counting against their allotment of time

If your project requires more time than allowed under this system please contact the core; exceptions may be made with good cause.


Formal acknowledgements help us demonstrate to companies that have provided equipment to the NIC that the center is producing useful scientific results, justifying their continued support. Acknowledgements also help us justify the importance of the center to granting agencies as we apply for grants in the future. When you publish a paper incorporating data acquired at the NIC please send a reprint or complete citation of the paper the core staff.

Occasionally the NIC staff may become substantially involved in experimental design, data acquisition, or data analysis meriting co-authorship. Ordinary training and assistance with the microscope does not merit co-authorship. However, in cases where the project probably would not have been successful or would not have been possible without the involvement of the NIC staff both the user and staff should consider whether this merits co-authorship.