Bio21 Ian Holmes Imaging Center

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The Bio21 Ian Holmes Imaging Centre offers electron microscopy for researchers needing high-resolution images of biological samples like tissues and cells and non-biological materials like metals and crystals.

Visit the platform

At the facility, we offer electron microscopy for researchers working in biological and material sciences. We are based at the Bio21 Institute, in a physical containment level 2 (PC2) laboratory.

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

For example, we have revealed the structure of the target proteins for drugs to treat malaria so they can be designed to bind more effectively and work more efficiently We have also used the environmental scanning electron microscope to see moss flowers within the electron microscope, which has not been seen previously. 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. We also offer 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) (from November 2020)
  • Quanta cryo environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM)
  • Nova Nanolab FIB
  • Titan Krios 300kV cryo-Transmission Electron Microscopy (cryo-TEM) (from January 2021)
  • Talos Arctica 200kV cryo-TEM
  • Talos L120C cryo-TEM
  • Tecnai F30 cryo-TEM
  • Tecnai F20 high resolution TEM
  • Teneo VolumeScope, large volume SEM

User information

We are an open access facility for local, national or international researchers. Users can access our platform three ways: fee-for-service, collaboration or user-operated.

Other platforms

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

Image: Peter Casamento

Contact us

Eric Hanssen

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.