Ian Holmes Imaging Centre

The Ian Holmes Imaging Centre offers electron microscopy for researchers needing high-resolution images of biological samples like tissues and cells as well as non-biological materials like metals and crystals.

Based at the Bio21 Institute in a physical containment level 2 (PC2) laboratory, our facility offers electron microscopy for researchers working in biological and material sciences.

Electron microscopes have a much higher magnifying power than standard light microscopes. They are used for a wide range of applications, including the examination of biological samples, analysis of medical biopsies as well as metal and crystal structures.

For example, we have revealed the structure of the target proteins for drugs to treat malaria to bind more effectively and work more efficiently. We have also used the environmental scanning electron microscope (SEM) to see moss flowers for the first time. We have even used the SEM to characterise the detergent from a local laundromat.

We work collaboratively with other researchers, as well as offering fee-for-service work. We provide training and advice along with access to a wide range of equipment for preparing samples.

Our services include:

  • Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) for structural and cell biology
  • Three-dimensional electron microscopy (tomography, block face imaging and array tomography)
  • Standard and high-resolution 2D imaging
  • Elemental analysis
  • Nanofabrication
  • Standard and cryo-scanning electron microscopy.


  • Aquilos cryo-Focus Ion Beam (cryo- FIB)
  • Titan Krios 300kV cryo-Transmission Electron Microscopy (cryo-TEM)
  • Talos Arctica 200kV cryo-TEM
  • Talos L120C cryo-TEM
  • Tecnai F30 cryo-TEM
  • Tecnai F20 high resolution TEM
  • Teneo VolumeScope, large volume SEM
  • Hitachi SU7000 Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy with Quorum cryo, Oxford elemental analysis and Delmic cathodoluminescence
  • Tecnai Spirit Transmission Electron Microscope

User information

We are an open-access facility for local, national or international researchers who can access our platform three ways: collaboration or user-operated (fee-for-service available on a limited basis).

Other platforms

The facility can be in used conjunction with a number of other platforms, including:

Image: Peter Casamento

Contact us

Professor Eric Hanssen
Email: ehanssen@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 8344 2449

Access the booking system.

More information on this platform can be found on the Research Gateway, which is available to all University of Melbourne academic and honorary staff, graduate researchers and professional staff.  Please note, to access the Research Gateway, you will need to login with your University of Melbourne username and password.

First published on 15 March 2023.

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