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Confocal Microscopy and Cellular Imaging Unit

The Confocal Microscopy and Cellular Imaging Unit at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital (UMCHSJD) forms part of the Daniel Bravo Center for diagnosis and research into minority diseases (CDB) and the Pediatric Institute of Rare Diseases (IPER).

It is located in the Pathological Anatomy Service, which offers a first-class record for the study of cell biology and the pathology and the pathogenesis of human maladies. Since the beginning of 2017, the main objective of the UMCHSJD has been to evaluate and improve the experimental capacities and diagnostics of human pathology within a health and academic environment. The Unit provides systems of optical microscopy, equipment for sample preparation and the maintenance and resources for subsequent imaging, processing and data.

It also offers services of the so-called confocal nanoscopy, which substantially increases the resolution of the confocal microscope, allowing the visualization of individual molecules inside the cells and a resolution of up to 60 nm.

The staff at the Confocal Microscopy Unit collaborates with researchers and with clinical users in the experimental planning of confocal microscopy experiments while further facilitating advanced training in the use of microscopes and specific imaging techniques. Additionally, it provides support in the processing and analysis of the acquired datasets, designing, if desired, customized analysis routines.

The two main challenges of this Unit are, on the one hand, to supply instruments that cover the whole spectrum of applications in the field of advanced optical microscopy to researchers from the HSJD as well as to both private and public institutions, and on the other hand, to incorporate this technology, a field so new and still to be fully explored in the field of diagnosis, and make it available to the clinical specialists at the HSJD.

The strategic location of the team and the close collaboration of its personnel within the Pathological Anatomy Service and Pediatric Biobank allows us to use many techniques for the preparation of samples which, along with an expert knowledge of morphology, makes the UMCHSJD a unit of quite singular characteristics.


  • Nanoscopy imaging: STED 3X (Stimulated emission depletion 3D). Multicolor with 592, 660 and 775 STED depletion lines and gated-STED
  • Super-resolution microscopy: HyVolution
  • Multidimensional confocal imaging
  • Time-lapse fluorescence microscopy: tracking, intracellular calcium… Environmental control for in vivo imaging
  • High speed Confocal Microscopy
  • Colocalization and quantitative fluorescence studies
  • F-Techniques: FRET, FRAP, photoactivation...
  • Spectrum excitation and emission of molecules: lambda-square
  • Microscopy for multi-layered experiments and mosaics
  • Transmitted light microscopy: BF, DIC and polarized light
  • Conventional fluorescence microscopy
  • Image processing and analysis: LAS X, ImageJ, Fiji, Huygens


The unit provides conventional and advanced light microscopy systems, equipment for sample preparation and maintenance prior to imaging, as well as resources for the data processing.

Available systems:

  • Confocal multispectral Leica TCS SP8 with a high speed module and a STED 3X module for super-resolution with 2 HyDs and Huygens STED deconvolution license. Laser lines: 405 nm, 488 nm and white laser for 470-670 nm excitation. Depletion lines: 592, 660 nm and 775nm.
  • Transmitted illumination and fluorescence widefield microscopy. Bright field, differential interference contrast (DIC), polarized light and fluorescence multiple wavelength imaging. Light upright microscope Leica DM5500B and DFC7000T digital color camera.
  • Computer workstations for fluorescence and confocal processing and analysis images (LAS X, Fiji / ImageJ, Huygens).
  • Auxiliary equipment for preparation and maintenance sample

Check rates, schedules and booking process

Dra. Mònica Roldán Molina
+34 932532145
Access Procedures

The facility is located in the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, building “C”, floor 0, in the Anatomical Pathology Service. The address of the hospital is Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2. 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona, Spain).

The Unit is open to welcome scientists and clinicians from the Research Institut Sant Joan de Déu and Hospital, other public institutions or private companies.

Check rates and Booking regulation

The booking forms will be attended to by arriving order and via e-mail ( Please send a request describing the goal and principles of the experiments to be checked for feasibility at the site, additional requirements, as well as the expected scope and duration. We strongly advise that you book at least 15 days ahead of time. Late cancellations (< 24h in advance) will result in billing 50% of the fee.